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.
 
Epithalamium
By Joannes Secundus (1511–1536)
 
(Translated by George Ogle, 1731)

THE HOUR is come, with pleasure crown’d
Borne in eternal order round:
Hour of endearing looks and smiles:
Hour of voluptuous sports and wiles;
Hour fraught with fondly-murmuring sighs;        5
Hour blest with softly-dying eyes;
Hour with commingling kisses sweet;
Hour of transporting bliss replete;
Hour worthy ev’n of gods above;
Hour worthy all-commanding Jove;        10
For not a fairer-omen’d hour
Could promise the kind Gnidian power;
Not tender Cupid could bestow,
The boy with silver-splendid bow,
And golden wing; delicious boy!        15
That sorrow still always with joy.
Nor, wont at nuptials to preside,
She, that of Jove is sister-bride!
Nor he, on tuneful summit born,
The god whom flowery wreaths adorn;        20
Who blooming beauty tears away,
Bears off by force the charming prey,
From the reluctant mother tears,
To the rapacious lover bears.
Hour long desired! hour long delay’d!        25
Thrice happy youth! thrice happy maid!
 
Thrice happy youth supremely blest,
Of every wish in one possest;
To thee the maid of form divine
Comes, seeming loth, but inly thine.        30
Such form as Juno’s self might choose,
Nor yet the martial maid refuse,
(Though that th’ ethereal sceptre sways,
And this the shining shield displays,)
Nor yet the Cyprian queen disdain,        35
Bent to re-seek the Phrygian swain,
And cause of beauty re-decide,
In shady vale of flowering Ide.
How sure to gain the golden prize,
(Though judged by less discerning eyes,)        40
She, in that matchless form array’d!
Thrice happy youth! thrice happy maid!
 
Thrice happy maid; supremely blest,
Of every wish in one possest;
To thee, on wings of love and truth,        45
Comes, all-devote, the raptured youth.
Thy bending neck with eager hold,
Thy waist, impatient to enfold.
While, for that hair of easy flow,
While, for that breast of virgin snow,        50
While, for that lip of rosy dye,
While, for that sweetly-speaking eye,
With silent passion he expires,
And burns with still consuming fires;
Now Phoebus, slow to quit the skies,        55
Now loit’ring Phoebe, slow to rise
Persists, alternate, to upbraid.
Thrice happy youth! thrice happy maid!
 
See where the maid, all-panting, lies,
(Ah! never more a maid to rise!)        60
And longs, yet trembles at thy tread;
Her cheeks suffused with decent red;
Expressing half her inward flame!
Half springing from ingenuous shame!
Tears from her eyes, perhaps, may steal,        65
Her joys the better to conceal;
Then sighs, with grief unreal fraught,
Then follow plaints of wrongs unthought.
But cease not thou with idle fears,
For all her plaints, or sighs, or tears.        70
Kiss’d be the tears from off her eyes;
With tender murmurs stopp’d her sighs;
With soothings soft her plaints allay’d.
Thrice happy youth! thrice happy maid.
 
The maid, in decent order placed,        75
With every bridal honour graced,
Through all her limbs begin to spread
The glowings of the genial bed;
And languid sleep dispose to take,
Did not the youth, more watchful, wake,        80
And the mild queen of fierce desire,
With warmth not disproportion’d, fire:
Taught hence, nor purpled kings to prize?
Nor scepter’d Jove, that rules the skies.
Soon for soft combats he prepares,        85
And gentle toils of amorous wars.
Declared, but with no dreaded arms;
Kisses! which, wanton as he strays,
He darts a thousand wanton ways,
At mouth or neck, at eyes or cheeks.        90
Him humbly, she full oft bespeaks,
Entreats, “a helpless maid to spare!”
And begs, with trembling voice, “Forbear!”
Full oft his rudeness loudly blames,
His boundless insolence proclaims.        95
His lips, with lips averse, withstands,
With hands, restrains his roving hands.
Resistance sweet; delicious fight!
O night! O doubly-happy night!
 
Contention obstinate succeeds.        100
The tender Loves contention feeds;
By that redoubled ardour burns;
By that redoubled strength returns.
Now o’er her neck take nimble flight;
Her breast as spotless ivory white;        105
Her waist of gradual rising charms;
Soft-moulded legs; smooth-polish’d arms:
Search all the tracts, in curious sport,
Conductive to the Cyprian court.
Through all the dark recesses go,        110
And all the shady coverts know.
To this, unnumber’d kisses join,
Unnumber’d as the stars that shine,
Commingling rays of blended light.
O night! O doubly-happy night!        115
 
Then spare no blandishments of love;
Sounds, that with soft’ning flattery move;
Sighs, what with soothing murmur please,
The injured virgin to appease;
Such, as when Zephyr fans the grove,        120
Or coos the am’rous billing dove;
Or sings the swan with tuneful breath,
Conscious of near approaching death;
Till, pierced by Cupid’s powerful dart,
As by degrees relents her heart,        125
The virgin, less and less severe,
Quits, by degrees, her stubborn fear;
Now on your arms her neck reclines;
Now with her arms your neck entwines;
As Love’s resistless flames incite.        130
O night! O doubly-happy night!
 
Sweet kisses shall reward your pains,
Kisses which no rude rapine stains;
From lips on swelling lips that swell;
From lips on dwelling lips that dwell;        135
That play return with equal play;
That bliss with equal bliss repay;
That vital stores, from either heart,
Imbibing, soul for soul impart;
Till now the maid, adventurous grown,        140
Attempts new frolics of her own;
Now suffers, strangers to the way,
Her far more daring hands to stray.
Now sports far more salacious seeks,
Now words far more licentious speaks;        145
Words that past sufferings well requite.
O night! O doubly-happy night!
 
To arms! to arms! now Cupid sounds.
Now is the time for grateful wounds,
Here Venus waves the nimble spear—        150
Venus is warlike goddess here.
Here not thy sister, Mars, presides,
Thy mistress in these conflicts prides;
While close engage the struggling foes,
And, restless, breast to breast oppose;        155
While, eager, this disputes the field,
And that alike disdains to yield;
Till, lo! in breathless transports tost,
Till in resistless raptures lost,
Their limbs with liquid dews distil;        160
Their hearts with pleasing horrors thrill;
And faint away in wild delight.
O night! O doubly-happy night!
 
Oh may you oft these sports renew,
And through long days and nights pursue!        165
With many an early moon begun;
Prolong’d to many a setting sun.
May a fair offspring crown your joys,
Of prattling girls, and smiling boys;
And yet another offspring rise,        170
Sweet objects to parental eyes,
The cares, assiduous to assuage,
That still solicit querulous age;
Careful your trembling limbs to stay,
That fail with unperceived decay;        175
Pious, when summon’d hence you go,
The last kind office to bestow;
Office with unfeign’d sorrow paid.
Thrice happy youth! thrice happy maid!
 
 
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