TO HIS MISTRESS
by: Ovid (43 BC-17 AD?)
- OUR husband
will be with us at the Treat;
- May that be the last Supper he shall Eat.
- And am poor I, a Guest invited there,
- Only to see, while he may touch the Fair?
- To see you Kiss and Hug your nauseous Lord,
- While his lewd Hand descends below the Board?
- Now wonder not that Hippodamia's Charms,
- At such a sight, the Centaurs urged to Arms;
- That in a rage they threw their Cups aside,
- Assailed the Bridegroom, and would force the Bride.
- I am not half a Horse (I would I were):
- Yet hardly can from you my Hands forbear.
- Take then my Counsel; which observed, may be
- Of some Importance both to you and me.
- Be sure to come before your Man be there;
- There's nothing can be done; but come how e'er.
- Sit next him (that belongs to Decency);
- But tread upon my Foot in passing by.
- Read in my Looks what silently they speak,
- And slily, with your Eyes, your Answer make.
- My Lifted Eyebrow shall declare my Pain;
- My Right-Hand to his fellow shall complain;
- And on the Back of a Letter shall design;
- Besides a Note that shall be Writ in Wine.
- When e'er you think upon our last Embrace,
- With your Fore-finger gently touch your Face.
- If you are pleased with what I do or say,
- Handle your Rings, or with your Fingers play.
- As Suppliants use at Altars, hold the Board,
- When e'er you wish the Devil may take your Lord.
- When he fills for you, never touch the Cup;
- But bid th' officious Cuckold drink it up.
- The Waiter on those Services employ.
- Drink you, and I will snatch it from the Boy:
- Watching the part where your sweet Mouth hath been,
- And thence, with eager Lips, will suck it in.
- If he, with Clownish Manners, thinks it fit
- To taste, and offer you the nasty bit,
- Reject his greasy Kindness, and restore
- Th' unsavory Morsel he had chewed before.
- Nor let his Arms embrace your Neck, nor rest
- Your tender Cheek upon his hairy Breast.
- Let not his Hand within your Bosom stray,
- And rudely with your pretty Bubbies play.
- But above all, let him no Kiss receive;
- That's an Offence I never can forgive.
- Do not, O do not that sweet Mouth resign,
- Lest I rise up in Arms, and cry, 'Tis mine.
- I shall thrust in betwixt, and void of Fear
- The manifest Adult'rer will alppear.
- These things are plain to Sight; but more I doubt
- What you conceal beneath your Petticoat.
- Take not his Leg between your tender Thighs,
- Nor, with your Hand, provoke my Foe to rise.
- Which I, myself, have practised all before!
- How oft have I been forced the Robe to lift
- In Company to make a homely shift
- For a bare Bout, ill huddled o'er in hast,
- While o'er my side the Fair her Mantle cast.
- You to your Husband shall not be so kind;
- But, lest you should, your Mantle leave behind.
- Encourage him to Tope; but Kiss him not,
- Nor mix one drop of Water in his Pot.
- If he be Fuddled well, and Snores apace
- Then we may take Advice from Time and Place,
- When all depart, when Complements are loud,
- Be sure to mix among the thickest Crowd.
- There I will be, and there we cannot miss,
- Alas, what length of Labour I employ,
- Just to secure a short and transient Joy!
- For Night must part us; and when Night is come,
- Tucked underneath his Arm he leads you Home.
- He locks you in; I follow to the Door,
- His Fortune envy, and my own deplore.
- He kisses you, he more than kisses too;
- Th' outrageous Cuckold thinks it all his due.
- But, add not to his Joy, by your consent,
- And let it not be given, but only lent.
- Return no Kiss, nor move in any sort;
- Make it a dull and a malignant Sport.
- Had I my Wish, he should no Pleasure take,
- But slubber o'er your Business for my sake.
- And what e'er Fortune shall this Night befall,
- Coax me to-morrow, by forswearing all.
- TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH BY
POEMS BY OVID
"To His Mistress" is reprinted
from Poetica Erotica. Ed. T.R. Smith. New York: Crown