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.
The Sisters
By Aristaenetus (fl. 5th or 6th Century A.D.)
(From the Love Epistles; translated by Richard Brinsley Sheridan and Nathaniel Brassey Halhed)


AS yesterday I went to dine
With Pamphilus, a swain of mine,
I took my sister, little heeding
The net I for myself was spreading;
Though many circumstances led        5
To prove she’d mischief in her head.
For first her dress in every part
Was studied with the nicest art:
Deck’d out with necklaces and rings,
And twenty other foolish things;        10
And she had curl’d and bound her hair
With more than ordinary care:
And then, to show her youth the more,
A light, transparent robe she wore—
From head to heel she seem’d t’ admire        15
In raptures all her fine attire:
And often turn’d aside to view
If others gazed with raptures too.—
At dinner, grown more bold and free,
She parted Pamphilus and me;        20
For veering round unheard, unseen,
She slyly drew her chair between.
Then with alluring, am’rous smiles,
And nods, and other wanton wiles,
And unsuspecting youth ensnared,        25
And rivall’d me in his regard.—
Next she affectedly would sip
The liquor that had touch’d his lip.
He, whose whole thoughts to love incline,
And heated with th’ enliv’ning wine,        30
With interest repaid her glances,
And answered all her kind advances.
Thus sip they from the goblet’s brink
Each other’s kisses while they drink;
Which with the sparkling wine combined,        35
Quick passage to the heart did find.
Then Pamphilus an apple broke,
And at her bosom aim’d the stroke;
While she the fragment kiss’d and press’d,
And hid it wanton in her breast.        40
But I, be sure, was in amaze,
To see my sister’s artful ways;
“These are returns,” I said, “quite fit
To me, who nursed you when a chit.
For shame, lay by this envious art;—        45
In this to act a sister’s part?”
But vain were words, entreaties vain,
The craftly witch secured my swain.—
By heavens, my sister does me wrong
But oh! she shall not triumph long;        50
Well Venus knows I’m not in fault—
’Twas she who gave the first assault:
And since our peace her treachery broke,
Let me return her stroke for stroke.
She’ll quickly feel, and to her cost,        55
Not all their fire my eyes have lost—
And soon with grief shall she resign
Six of her swains for one of mine.

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