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 III. Elegia XIV.
By Ovid (43 B.C.–18 A.D.)
 
(Translated by Christopher Marlowe)

Ad amicam, si peccatura est, ut occulte peccet.

SEEING thou art fair, I bar not thy false playing,
But let not me, poor soul, know of thy straying.
Nor do I give thee counsel to live chaste,
But that thou would’st dissemble, when ’tis past.
She hath not trod awry, that doth deny it.        5
Such as confess have lost their good names by it.
What madness is’t to tell night-pranks by day?
And hidden secrets openly to bewray?
The strumpet with the stranger will not do,
Before the room be clear, and door put-to.        10
Will you make shipwreck of your honest name,
And let the world be witness of the same?
Be more advised, walk as a puritan,
And I shall think you chaste, do what you can.
Slip still, only deny it when ’tis done,        15
And, before folk, immodest speeches shun.
The bed is for lascivious toyings meet,
There use all tricks, and tread shame under feet.
When you are up and dressed, be sage and grave,
And in the bed hide all the faults you have.        20
Be not ashamed to strip you, being there,
And mingle thighs, yours ever mine to bear.
There in your rosy lips my tongue entomb,
Practise a thousand sports when there you come.
Forbear no wanton words you there would speak,        25
And with your pastime let the bedstead creak;
But with your robes put on an honest face,
And blush and seem as you were full of grace.
Deceive all; let me err; and think I’m right,
And like a wittol think thee void of slight.        30
Why see I lines so oft received and given?
This bed and that by tumbling made uneven?
Like one start up your hair tost and displaced,
And with a wanton’s tooth your neck new-rased.
Grant this, that what you do I may not see;        35
If you weigh not ill speeches, yet weigh me.
My soul fleets when I think what you have done,
And thorough every vein doth cold blood run.
Then thee whom I must love, I hate in vain,
And would be dead, but dead with thee remain.        40
I’ll not sift much, but hold thee soon excused.
Say but thou wert injuriously accused.
Though while the deed be doing you be took,
And I see when you ope the two-leaved book,
Swear I was blind; deny, if you be wise,        45
And I will trust your words more than mine eyes.
From him that yields, the palm is quickly got,
Teach but your tongue to say, “I did it not,”
And being justified by two words think
The cause acquits you not, but I that wink.        50
 
 
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