Verse > Anthologies > T. R. Smith, ed. > Poetica Erotica: A Collection of Rare and Curious Amatory Verse
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T. R. Smith, comp.  Poetica Erotica: Rare and Curious Amatory Verse.  1921–22.
 
From Elegies: Book II. Elegia X.
By Ovid (43 B.C.–18 A.D.)
 
(Translated by Christopher Marlowe)

Ad Græcinum quod eodem tempore duas amet.

GRÆCINUS (well I wot) thou told’st me once,
I could not be in love with two at once;
By thee deceived, by thee surprised am I,
For now I love two women equally:
Both are well favoured, both rich in array,        5
Which is the loveliest it is hard to say:
This seems the fairest, so doth that to me;
And this doth please me most, and so doth she;
Even as a boat tossed by contràry wind,
So with this love and that wavers my mind.        10
Venus, why doublest thou my endless smart?
Was not one wench enough to grieve my heart?
Why add’st thou stars to heaven, leaves to green woods,
And to the deep vast sea fresh water-floods?
Yet this is better far than lie alone:        15
Let such as be mine enemies have none;
Yea, let my foes sleep in an empty bed,
And in the midst their bodies largely spread:
But may soft love rouse up my drowsy eyes,
And from my mistress’ bosom let me rise!        20
Let one wench cloy me with sweet love’s delight,
If one can do’t, if not, two every night.
Though I am slender, I have store of pith,
Nor want I strength, but weight, to press her with:
Pleasure adds fuel to my lustful fire,        25
I pay them home with that they most desire:
Oft have I spent the night in wantonness,
And in the morn been lively ne’ertheless,
He’s happy whom Love’s mutual skirmish slays;
And to the gods for that death Ovid prays.        30
Let soldiers chase their enemies amain,
And with their blood eternal honour gain,
Let merchants seek wealth and with perjured lips,
Being wrecked, carouse the sea tired by their ships;
But when I die, would I might droop with doing,        35
And in the midst thereof, set my soul going,
That at my funerals some may weeping cry,
“Even as he led his life, so did he die.”
 
 
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