THE WIFE OF LOT
by: Francis Saltus (1846-1889)
- OW Lot,
the son of Haran, dwelt within
- The city's walls and loved its many ways;
- But he was pure of heart until his praise,
- And much deplored all God-defying sin.
- He lived estranged from the licentious throng,
- Doting upon the fairness of his wife,
- Proud of the blameless quiet of his life,
- A righteous man and unashamed of song.
- Now Ilcah, Lot's fair wife, in Sodom born,
- Was in her sullied heart adverse to him;
- Because his eyes by labour had grown dim,
- She suffered by his love in silent scorn.
- For he was like old dreamers in the night,
- Loving to doze and ponder on his herds,
- And even his infrequent passion words
- Were tame unto her, offering no delight.
- She, in the blooming May-time of her years,
- With passionate eyes and lustrous veils of hair,
- Yearned for love's ecstasy and its despair,
- A love of laughter, ravishment and tears.
- And she, grown weary of Lot's grave renown,
- Would seek the city's heart on festal days,
- And strut like zonahs on its marble ways,
- For she adored a man within the town.
- One whom her girlish spirit idolized,
- A valorous chief, a most athletic man,
- With mighty limbs, known as the lord Suran,
- Who for his famed virility was prized.
- And he had led her to Vul's temple, where,
- Ravished by his bright armor and the glance
- Of conquering eyes in a voluptuous trance
- She veiled his breast with all her loosened hair.
- And while the priests officiating cried:
- "Give to great Vul, oh women! all your charms!"
- She lay amort for love within his arms,
- And on his perfumed bosom softly sighed.
- And he, for she was ravenous to learn,
- Taught her the mysteries and the holy rites
- That steeped her bosom in unknown delights,
- Strange pleasures, and new minglements that burn!
- And she revered the aroma of his beard,
- Giving her radiant body for his play,
- And in the temple in the hot midday,
- Alone, to tempt his vigor she appeared.
- Veiled to the eyes, but amorous of the spot,
- Loving the sensual magic of the gloom,
- Seeking sweet impious bonds that foster doom,
- Her heart made merry by her scorn of Lot.
- Her limbs were maddened by strong Suran's touch;
- She sang to him in passionate unrest;
- His curled head was warm upon her breast;
- His flanks were fruitful, and she loved him much.
- Ay, with such adoration that, to fill
- His lecherous eyes with raptures held so, dear,
- She would have braved cold death without a fear,
- If, following, Suran would have loved her still!
- To please his whim at the great Autumn feast,
- Held to Vul's glory on the dying year,
- Rosy and nude, fair Ilcah did appear,
- Surrendering her beauty to the priest.
- Ay, in the holy vaults, for Suran's sake,
- She learned the arcana of the zonahs there,
- Slumbering with women amorous and bare,
- So that he, too, in pleasure might partake.
- And she in beauty through the temple trod,
- Warm with her loves and flushed by flowers and wine,
- Hailing her prostitution as divine
- And most delightful, worthy of her God.
- And Lot had honored her with manly trust,
- And let the days pass dreaming of his herds,
- Counting his kine and listening to his birds,
- Serenely unsuspicious and most just.
POEMS BY FRANCIS SALTUS
"The Wife of Lot" is reprinted
from Poetica Erotica. Ed. T.R. Smith. New York: Crown