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.
Aldobrandino, a Fat Cardinal
(From Choice Drollery, 1656)

NEVER was human soul so overgrown,
With an unreasonable Cargazon
Of flesh, as Aldobrandino, whom to pack,
No girdle serv’d less than the zodiac:
So thick a Giant, that he now was come        5
To be accounted an eighth hill in Rome,
And as the learn’d Tostatus kept his age,
Writing for every day he liv’d a page;
So he no less voluminous than that
Added each day a leaf, but ’twas of fat.        10
  The choicest beauty that had been devised
By Nature, was by her parents sacrificed
Up to this Monster, upon whom to try,
If as increase, he could, too, multiply.
  Oh, how I tremble lest the tender maid        15
Should die like a young infant over-laid!
For when this Chaos would pretend to move
And arch his back for the strong act of Love,
He falls as soon o’erthrown with his own weight,
  And with his ruins doth the Princess fright.        20
She lovely Martyr there lies stew’d and pressed,
Like flesh under the tarred saddle dressed,
And seems to those that look on them in bed,
Larded with him, rather than married.
  Oft did he cry, but still in vain, to force        25
His fatness, powerfuller then a divorce;
No herbs, no midwives profit here, nor can
Of his great belly free the teeming man.
What though he drink the vinegars most fine,
They do not waste his fleshy Apennine;        30
His paunch like some huge Isthmus runs between
The amorous Seas, and lets them not be seen;
Yet a new Dedalus invented how
This Bull with his Pasiphae might plow.
  Have you those artificial torments known,        35
With which long sunken Galeos are thrown
Again on Sea, or the dead Galia
Was rais’d that once behind St. Peters lay:
By the same rules he this time engine made,
With silken cords in nimble pullies laid;        40
And when his Genius prompteth his slow part
To works of Nature, which he helps with Art:
First he intangles in those woven bands,
His groveling weight, and ready to commands,
The sworn Prinadas of his bed, the Aids        45
Of Love’s Camp, necessary Chambermaids;
Each runs to her known tackling, hastes to hoise,
And in just distance of the urging voice,
Exhorts the labour till he smiling rise
To the bed’s roof, and wonders how he flies.        50
  Thence as the eager Falcon having spied
Fowl at the brook, or by the River’s side,
Hangs in the middle Region of the air,
So hovers he, and plains above his fair:
  Blest Icarus first melted at those beams,        55
That he might after fall into those streams,
And there allaying his delicious flame,
In that sweet Ocean propagate his name.
  Unable longer to delay, he calls
To be let down, and in short measure falls        60
Toward his Mistress, that without her smock
Lies naked as Andromeda at the Rock,
And through the Skies see her wingèd Perseus strike
Though for his bulk, more that sea-monster like.
  Meantime the Nurse, who as the most discreet,        65
Stood governing the motions at the feet,
And balanc’d his descent, lest that amiss
He fell too fast, or that way more than this;
Steers the Prow of the pensile Galleys,
Right on Love’s Harbour the Nymph lets him pass        70
Over the Chains, and ’tween the double Fort
Of her encastled knees, which guard the Port.
  The Burs as she had learnt still diligent,
Now girt him backwards, now him forwards bent;
Like those that levelled in tough Cordage, teach        75
The mural Ram, and guide it to the Breach.

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