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.
From Elegies: Book I. Elegia IV.
By Ovid (43 B.C.–18 A.D.)
(Translated by Christopher Marlowe)

Amicam, qua arte quibusque nutibus in cæna, presente viro, uti debeat, admonet.

THY husband to a banquet goes with me,
Pray God it may his latest supper be.
Shall I sit gazing as a bashful guest,
While others touch the damsel I love best?
Wilt lying under him, his bosom clip?        5
About thy neck shall he at pleasure skip?
Marvel not, though the fair bride did incite
The drunken Centaurs to a sudden fight.
I am no half horse, nor in woods I dwell,
Yet scarce my hands from thee contain I well.        10
But how thou should’st behave thyself now know,
Nor let the winds away my warnings blow.
Before thy husband come, though I not see
What may be done, yet there before him be.
Lie with him gently, when his limbs he spread        15
Upon the bed; but on my foot first tread.
View me, my becks, and speaking countenance;
Take, and return each secret amorous glance.
Words without voice shall on my eyebrows sit,
Lines thou shalt read in wine by my hand writ.        20
When our lascivious toys come to thy mind,
Thy rosy cheeks be to thy thumb inclined.
If aught of me thou speak’st in inward thought,
Let thy soft finger to thy ear be brought.
When I, my light, do or say aught that please thee,        25
Turn around thy gold ring, as it were to ease thee.
Strike on the board like them that pray for evil,
When thou dost wish thy husband at the devil.
What wine he fills thee, wisely will him drink;
Ask thou the boy, what thou enough dost think.        30
When thou hast tasted, I will take the cup,
And where thou drink’st, on that part I will sup.
If he gives thee what first himself did taste,
Even in his face his offered goblets cast.
Let not thy neck by his vile arms be prest,        35
Nor lean thy soft head on his boisterous breast.
Thy bosom’s roseate buds let him not finger,
Chiefly on thy lips let not his lips linger
If thou givest kisses, I shall all disclose,
Say they are mine, and hands on thee impose.        40
Yet this I’ll see, but if thy gown aught cover,
Suspicious fear in all my veins will hover.
Mingle not thighs, nor to his leg join thine,
Nor thy soft foot with his hard foot combine.
I have been wanton, therefore am perplexed,        45
And with mistrust of the like measure vexed.
I and my wench oft under clothes did lurk,
When pleasure moved us to our sweetest work.
Do not thou so; but throw thy mantle hence,
Lest I should think thee guilty of offence,        50
Entreat thy husband drink, but do not kiss,
And while he drinks, to add more do not miss;
If he lies down with wine and sleep opprest,
The thing and place shall counsel us the rest.
When to go homewards we rise all along        55
Have care to walk in middle of the throng,
There will I find thee or be found by thee,
There touch whatever thou canst touch of me.
Ah me! I warn what profits some few hours!
But we must part, when heaven with black night lours.        60
At night thy husband clips thee: I will weep
And to the doors sight of thyself [will] keep:
Then will he kiss thee, and not only kiss,
But force thee give him my stolen honey-bliss.
Constrained against thy will give it the peasant,        65
Forbear sweet words, and be your sport unpleasant.
To him I pray it no delight may bring,
Or if it do, to thee no joy thence spring.
But, though this night thy fortune be to try it,
To me to-morrow constantly deny it.        70

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