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 Cytherea
By George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham (1628–1687)
THE TRANSIENT reason let’s improve,
That human life allots to love;
Youth soon, my Cynthia! flies away,
And age assumes its frozen sway;
With elegance and neatness dressed,        5
Come there, in beauty’s bloom confessed,
And in my fond embrace be blest!
  Faint smugglings, but inflame desire,
And serve to fan the lover’s fire;
Then yield not all at once your charms,        10
But with reluctance fill my arms:
  My arms! that shall, with eager haste,
Encircle now your slender waist;
Now round your neck be careless hung,
And now o’er all your frame be flung:        15
About your limbs my limbs I’ll twine,
And lay your glowing cheek to mine:
Close to my broad, manlier chest,
I’ll press thy firm, proud-swelling breast,
Now rising high, now falling low,        20
As passion’s tide shall ebb, or flow:
My murmuring tongue shall speak my bliss,
Shall court your yielding lips to kiss;
Each kiss with thousands I’ll repay,
And almost suck your breath away:        25
A thousand more you then shall give,
And then a thousand more receive;
In transport half-dissolved we’ll lie,
Venting our wishes in a sigh.
Quick-starting from me, now display        30
Your loose and discomposed array:
Your hair shall o’er your polished brow,
In sweetly-wild disorder flow,
And those long tresses from behind,
You used in artful braids to bind,        35
Shall down your snowy bosom spread
Redundant, in a softened shade;
And from your wishful eyes shall stream
The dewy light of passion’s flame:
While now and then a look shall glance,        40
Your senses lost in amorous trance;
That fain my rudeness would remove,
Yet plainly tells how strong you love;
The roses heightened on your cheek,
Shall the fierce tide of rapture speak;        45
And on your lips a warmer glow
The deepened ruby then shall show:
Your breast, replete with youthful fire,
Shall heave with tumults of desire;
Shall heave at thoughts of wished-for bliss,        50
Springing as though ’twould meet my kiss:
Down on that heaven I’ll sink quite spent,
And lie in tender languishment;
But soon your charms’ reviving power,
Shall to my frame new life restore:        55
With love I’ll then my pains assuage,
With kisses cool my wanton rage,
Hang o’er thy beauties till I cloy,
Then cease, and then renew my joy.

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