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 Delia
By Tibullus (c.55–19 B.C.)
(From Book I. VI; translated by John Percival Postgate, 1912)

LOVE, thou dost always meet me with smiling visage to draw me on; but after that, poor wretch, I find thee frowning and angry. What hast thou to do with me, cruel boy? Is there great glory to a god in laying snares for a man?
  For the net is spread to take me; now cunning Delia clasps a gallant covertly in the hush of night. She denies it, indeed, and on oath; but ’tis hard to believe her. Thus touching me, too, she denies every hour to her husband. Poor wretch, it was I who taught her the ways of tricking her watchers, and now alas! by my own craft am I sore bestead. Then learned she how to frame excuses for lying alone, and then how to turn the door without a sound from the hinges. Then did I give her juices and herbs to erase the dark signs which the teeth in love’s communion imprint upon the flesh.  2
  And thou, the unwary mate of a faithless wife, watching me with the rest that she may never sin, and take care that she talk not much or oft with young men, nor use nods to deceive thee, or recline with loose robe and bosom bare; and see she take not wine on her fingers and trace signs on the table’s round. Have thy fears when she goes out often, or if she say that she would witness the rites of the Good Goddess which no male must go nigh.  3

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