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.
 
To Lydia
Mediæval Latin Student’s Songs
 
(From Wine, Women and Song. Translated by John Addington Symonds)

LYDIA bright, thou girl more white
  Than the milk of morning new,
Or young lilies in the light!
  Matched with thy rose-whiteness, hue
Of red rose or white rose pales,        5
And the polished ivory fails,
                        Ivory fails.
 
Spread, O spread, my girl, thy hair,
  Amber-hued and heavenly bright,
As fine gold or golden air!        10
  Show, O show thy throat so white,
Throat and neck that marble fine
Over thy white breasts incline,
                    Breasts incline.
 
Lift, O lift thine eyes that are        15
  Underneath those eyelids dark,
Lustrous as the evening star
  ’Neath the dark heaven’s purple arc!
Bare, O bare thy cheeks of rose,
Dyed with Tyrian red that glows,        20
                    Red that glows.
 
Give, O give those lips of love
  That the coral boughs eclipse;
Give sweet kisses, dove by dove,
  Soft descending on my lips.        25
See my soul how forth she flies!
’Neath each kiss my pierced heart dies,
                Pierced heart dies.
 
Wherefore dost thou draw my life,
  Drain my heart’s blood with thy kiss?        30
Scarce can I endure the strife
  Of this ecstasy of bliss!
Set, O set my poor heart free,
Bound in icy chains by thee,
                    Chains by thee.        35
 
Hide, O hide those hills of snow,
  Twinned upon thy breast that rise,
Where the virgin fountains flow
  With fresh milk of Paradise!
Thy bare bosom breathes of myrrh,        40
From thy whole self pleasures stir,
                        Pleasures stir.
 
Hide, O hide those paps that tire
  Sense and spirit with excess
Of snow-whiteness and desire        45
  Of thy breast’s deliciousness!
See’st thou, cruel, how I swoon?
Leav’st thou me half lost so soon?
                        Lost so soon?
 
 
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