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 “The Songs of Bilitis”
CXIX. Intimacies
By Pierre Louÿs (1870–1925)
(1894. Translated from the French by Horace Manchester Brown. 1904)

WHY am I become Lesbian, O Bilitis, thou askest me? But what player of the flute is not a Lesbian in some degree? I am poor; I have no bed; I lie with her who wishes me, and I thank her with that which I have.
  When we are small we already dance naked; and what dances? Thou knowest, my dear one: the twelve desires of Aphrodite. We look each upon the other, we compare the beauty of our nakedness, and we find it beautiful.  2
  During the long night we are warmed by the pleasure of the lookers-on; but our ardor is not feigned, and so strongly do we feel it, that sometimes, behind the doors, one of us may embrace a companion who consents.  3
  How do we make love with a man who is rude to us? He takes us as he would a woman, and leaves us before the orgasm. Thou, thou art a woman and knowest what I mean. Thou canst take it as for thyself.  4

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