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.
To Flavius: Mis-speaking His Mistress
By Gaius Valerius Catullus (c. 84–c. 54 B.C.)
(From the Carmina; translated by Sir Richard F. Burton, 1894)

THY Charmer (Flavius!) to Catullus’ ear
Were she not manner’d mean and worst in wit
Perforce thou hadst praised nor couldst silence keep.
But some enfevered jade, I wot-not-what,
Some piece thou lovest, blushing this to own.        5
For, nowise ’customed widower nights to lie
Thou’rt ever summoned by no silent bed
With flow’r-wreaths fragrant and with Syrian oil,
By mattress, bolsters, here, there, everywhere
Deep-dinted, and by quaking, shaking couch        10
All crepitation and mobility.
Explain! none whoredoms (no!) shall close my lips.
Why? such outfuttered flank thou ne’er wouldst show
Had not some fulsome work by thee been wrought.
Then what thou holdest, boon or bane be pleased        15
Disclose! For thee and thy beloved fain would I
Upraise to Heaven with my liveliest lay.

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