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.
 
The Picture
By Anacreon (582–485 B.C.)
 
(From the Odes; translated by Thomas Stanley, 1651)

PAINTER, by unmatch’d desert
Master of the Rhodian art,
Come, my absent mistress take,
As I shall describe her: make
First her hair, as black as bright,        5
And if colors so much right
Can but do her, let it too
Smell of aromatic dew;
Underneath this shade, must thou
Draw her alabaster brow;        10
Her dark eyebrows so dispose
That they neither part nor close,
But by a divorce so slight
Be disjoin’d, may cheat the sight:
From her kindly killing eye        15
Make a flash of lightning fly,
Sparkling like Minerva’s, yet
Like Cythera’s mildly sweet:
Roses in milk swimming seek
For the pattern of her cheek:        20
In her lip such moving blisses,
As from all may challenge kisses;
Round about her neck (outvying
Parian stone) the Graces flying;
And o’er all her limbs at last        25
A loose purple mantle cast;
But so ordered that the eye
Some part naked may descry,
An essay by which the rest
That lies hidden may be guess’d.        30
  So, to life th’ hast come so near,
  All of her, but voice, is here.
 
 
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