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.
 
Eros
By Pierre Louÿs (1870–1925)
 
(From Aphrodite. Translated by Mitchell S. Buck, 1913)

DEEP in the lurking shadows of the woods,
  Down vistas gold-flecked from the sunlight glare,
The Satyrs fast pursue the Oreads,
  Clutching their virgin breasts and flying hair,
  Bending their gleaming bodies, tense with fear,        5
Swift backward on the damp moss. Half divine,
Writhing with pain …
        O women!
        On your soft lips, Eros cries
        Desires and agonies.        10
            Eros! Eros!…
 
Cybele long pursues across the plains
  The godlike Attis whom her love desires,
The fleeting Attis who her love disdains.
  For Eros, like a cruel god, conspires        15
  To chill return where burning love aspires.
And, in despair, through Attis’ halting breath,
Cybele weaves of death …
        Slaying with tortured cries,
        Desires and agonies …        20
            Eros! Eros!…
 
Before the Goat-foot, over flowery meads,
Toward the watery tomb, frail Syrinx speeds,
  Shuddering at Eros’ kiss upon her cheek—
Eros who, later, culls the trembling reeds,        25
  Caresses them and, living, makes them speak.
For he who conquers gods, who death disdains—
Pale Eros—reigns …
        O women!
        From a dead soul, Eros cries        30
        Desires and agonies.
 
 
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