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.
Sapphic Ode XXVII: “Mnasidica in form and gait”
By Michael Field (Katherine Harris Bradley) (1846–1914)
(From Long Ago, 1889)

MNASIDICA in form and gait
Eclipses her ill-favoured mate
  Gyrinna; when I call,
I tremble lest the girl appear
Whose very shadow on the wall        5
Repulses me, and when I hear
Her rude, slow step I shake with fear.
Her gesture has no rhythmic law;
She knows not how her dress to draw
  About her ankles thin;        10
And let the luckless child take care
Firmly her chiton-brooch to pin,
For, oh, she must not ever dare
To leave her flabby shoulder bare!
But when Mnasidica doth raise        15
Her arm to feed the lamp I gaze
  Glad at the lovely curve;
And when her pitcher at the spring
She fills, I watch her tresses swerve
And drip, then pause to see her wring        20
Her hair, and back the bright drops fling.
And now she leaves my maiden train!
Those whom I love most give me pain:
  Why should I love her so?
Gyrinna hath a gentle face,        25
And the harmonious soul, I know,
Not very long can lack the trace,
O Aphrodite, of thy grace.

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