Verse > Anthologies > T. R. Smith, ed. > Poetica Erotica: A Collection of Rare and Curious Amatory Verse
T. R. Smith, comp.  Poetica Erotica: Rare and Curious Amatory Verse.  1921–22.
By Francis Saltus Saltus (1849–1889)
(From Shadows and Ideals, 1890)

WERE I a woman, I would not pray to be
  The great Semiramis or Joan of Arc,
  The Fair Sorel or Catherine grim and dark,
Or Cleopatra, supple as the sea.
Nor would it in sweet manner pleasure me        5
  To be fond Juliet listening to the lark,
  Nor yet a Staël, with genius for a mark,
Nay, nor pale Marie Stuart, queen and free.
Had I of such rare transformation choice,
  I would be Messalina, warm and lewd,        10
    Or amorous Sappho, with wild whims impure.
Yea! any my lawless spirit would rejoice
  To live in white Dubarry’s bosom nude,
    Or on the glittering breast of Pompadour!

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