Anonymous: There’s No Lust Like to Poetry

There’s No Lust Like to Poetry

Sweet in goodly fellowship
   Tastes red wine and rare O!
But to kiss a girl’s ripe lip
   Is a gift more fair O!
Yet a gift more sweet, more fine,
   Is the lyre of Maro!
While these three good gifts were mine,
   I’d not change with Pharoah.

Bacchus wakes within my breast
   Love and love’s desire,
Venus comes and stirs the blessed
   Rage of Phoebus’ fire;
Deathless honor is our due
   From the laureled sire:
Woe should I turn traitor to
   Wine and love and lyre!

Should a tyrant rise and say,
   “Give up wine!” I’d do it;
“Love no girls!” I would obey,
   Though my heart should rue it.
“Dash thy lyre!” suppose he saith,
   Naught should bring me to it;
“Yield thy lyre or die!” my breath,
   Dying, should thrill through it!

Translated by John Addington Symonds

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