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.
 
The Wife of Lot
By Francis Saltus Saltus (1849–1889)
 
(From Lot’s Wife, 1890)

NOW Lot, the son of Haran, dwelt within
  The city’s walls and loved its many ways;
  But he was pure of heart unto his praise,
And much deplored all God-defying sin.
 
He lived estranged from the licentious throng,        5
  Doting upon the fairness of his wife,
  Proud of the blameless quiet of his life,
A righteous man and unashamed of song.
*        *        *        *        *
Now Ilcah, Lot’s fair wife, in Sodom born,
  Was in her sullied heart adverse to him;        10
  Because his eyes by labor had grown dim,
She suffered by his love in silent scorn.
 
For he was like old dreamers in the night,
  Loving to doze and ponder on his herds,
  And even his infrequent passion words        15
Were tame unto her, offering no delight.
 
She, in the blooming May-time of her years,
  With passionate eyes and lustrous veils of hair,
  Yearned for love’s ecstasy and its despair,
A love of laughter, ravishment and tears.        20
 
And she, grown weary of Lot’s grave renown,
  Would seek the city’s heart on festal days,
  And strut like zonahs on its marble ways,
For she adored a man within the town,
 
One whom her girlish spirit idolized,        25
  A valorous chief, a most athletic man,
  With mighty limbs, known as the lord Suran,
Who for his famed virility was prized.
 
And he had led her to Vul’s temple, where,
  Ravished by his bright armor and the glance        30
  Of conquering eyes, in a voluptuous trance
She veiled his breast with all her loosened hair.
 
And while the priests officiating cried:
  “Give to great Vul, oh women! all your charms!”
  She lay amort for love within his arms,        35
And on his perfumed bosom softly sighed.
 
And he, for she was ravenous to learn,
  Taught her the mysteries and the holy rites
  That steeped her bosom in unknown delights,
Strange pleasures, and new minglements that burn!        40
 
And she revered the aroma of his beard,
  Giving her radiant body for his play,
  And in the temple in the hot midday,
Alone, to tempt his vigor she appeared.
 
Veiled to the eyes, but amorous of the spot,        45
  Loving the sensual magic of the gloom,
  Seeking sweet impious bonds that foster doom,
Her heart made merry by her scorn of Lot.
 
Her limbs were maddened by strong Suran’s touch;
  She sang to him in passionate unrest;        50
  His curlèd head was warm upon her breast;
His flanks were fruitful, and she loved him much.
 
Ay, with such adoration that, to fill
  His lecherous eyes with raptures held so dear,
  She would have braved cold death without a fear,        55
If, following, Suran would have loved her still!
 
To please his whim at the great Autumn feast,
  Held to Val’s glory on the dying year,
  Rosy and nude, fair Ilcah did appear,
Surrendering her beauty to the priest.        60
 
Ay, in the holy vaults, for Suran’s sake,
  She learned the arcana of the zonahs there,
  Slumbering with women amorous and bare,
So that he, too, in pleasure might partake.
 
And she in beauty through the temple trod,        65
  Warm with her loves and flushed by flowers and wine,
  Hailing her prostitution as divine
And most delightful, worthy of her god.
 
And Lot had honored her with manly trust,
  And let the days pass dreaming of his herds,        70
  Counting his kine and listening to his birds,
Serenely unsuspicious and most just.
 
 
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