The Quote Garden

 I dig old books.

 Est. 1998

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Sensual, Passionate, Sexy,
Erotic Quotes & Verses


...let us give ourselves over to joy… to voluptuousness, as if this were our last night among the living. ~Alfred de Musset, Gamiani, or Two Nights of Excess, 1833, translated from the French by John Baxter, 2006

The marvel of love is that the soul opens itself to delights of the flesh, and the flesh to pleasures of the soul. ~Jacques Deval (1890–1972), Afin de vivre bel et bien, 1970

My body talks about you in the night...
My cheek grows warm, remembering your lips.
My arms reach blindly out into the dark;
My pulses say, "We cannot beat without him";
And my eyes do not speak at all, for what they know is beyond being said.
My body talks about you all night long.
I cannot sleep, my body talks so loud.
~Mary Carolyn Davies, "Love-songs," 1915

Her lips were swollen, like firm buds ready to blossom. ~Octave Mirbeau, "The Garden," The Torture Garden, 1899, translated from the French by Alvah C. Bessie, 1931

You can make blossom in me
Flowers of fire.
~Huang O (1498–1569), translated by Kenneth Rexroth and Ling Chung, 1972

Your parted lips hard on mine,
Your sudden arms crushing heaven into my heart,
Your broken words that tell me nothing and everything—
~Mary Carolyn Davies, "Love-songs," 1915

Be no longer tender.
Cover me with frenzied kisses, — even as I would drench my body in the cruel torrents of the rain.
Envelop me from throat to ankle in delirium intolerable...
~Blanche Shoemaker Wagstaff, c. 1913

Like an artist
Who had finished a masterpiece
And is almost afraid,
You passed your finger
Over my lips
Outlining their curves
In the darkness.
And when you felt them smile
You kissed the smile out
And forced hunger upon them —
~Mary Carolyn Davies, "Songs of a Girl: XXII," Youth Riding, 1919

She could say no more, for our clinging mouths were no longer either organs of speech or channels for respiration. Become a single being at the same instant, we did not have the strength to restrain our first desire for more than a minute... The raging fire which urged us on was scorching us; it would have burned us had we tried to restrain it. ~Giacomo Casanova (1725–1798)

How I love all of you! Do you feel me wrap you
Up with myself and my warmth, like a flame round the wick?
...I feel that we
Are a bonfire of oneness, me flame flung leaping round you,
You the core of the fire, crept into me.
~D. H. Lawrence (1885–1930), “Wedlock”

How beautiful they are, the poems you send me! Their rhythm is as gentle as the caresses of your voice when you murmur my name among your other endearments... I want to cover you with love when next I see you, with caresses, with ecstasy. I want to gorge you with all the joys of the flesh, until you faint and die. I want you to be amazed by me, and to confess to yourself that you had never even dreamed of such transports... When you are old, I want you to recall those few hours, I want your dry bones to quiver with joy when you think of them... In our appetite for life we feast again on past feelings and dream of those yet to come. Confined strictly to the present, the soul is stifled, the world is too small. ~Gustave Flaubert, letter to his wife Louise Colet, 1846

To love you like the midnight storm!...
To hear the wild beating of your veins; to feel flame shuddering your blood and to agonize you with my ardor.
To crush you as a flower upon my breast,
To bear you away to some secret valley where I would love you into insensibility...
~Blanche Shoemaker Wagstaff, c. 1913

Do you remember one evening when I wore a low bodice, how you bade me goodnight with a pressure of your hand — then, when your eye rested a moment on my neck, you started as if swayed by great pain and caught me in your arms crying, "Oh, love, love, can God torture me so!" And you pushed down the dress and buried your face as a man dying of thirst would sink his face to a fountain. ~Kate Stephens, A Woman's Heart, 1906

Now Eros seizes and
shakes my very soul —
the mountain winds
shaking ancient oaks.
~Sappho (c.610–c.570 BCE)

"Why, flowers are violent, cruel, terrible and splendid... like love!" He picked a ranunculus which gently swayed its golden head above the grass beside him, and with infinite delicacy, slowly and amorously, he turned it between his fat red fingers... "Isn't it adorable?" he repeated, looking at it. "It's so little, so fragile, and besides, it's all of nature; all the beauty and power of nature. It contains the world. A puny and relentless organism which goes straight to the goal of its desire! Ah, milady, flowers do not indulge in sentiment. They indulge in passion, nothing but passion. And they make love all the time, and in every fashion. They think of nothing else; and how right they are! Perverse? Because they obey the only law of life; because they are satisfied with the only need of life, which is love? But consider, milady, the flower is only a reproductive organ. Is there anything healthier, stronger, or more beautiful than that? These marvelous petals, those silks, these velvets... these soft, supple, and caressing materials are the curtains of the alcove, the draperies of the bridal chamber, the perfumed bed where they unite, where they pass their ephemeral and immortal life, swooning with love. What an admirable example for us!" ~Octave Mirbeau, "The Garden," The Torture Garden, 1899, translated from the French by Alvah C. Bessie, 1931

My sweetheart has the supplest arms
      So full of tenderness and fire;
      They almost cheat her other charms
      The way they rouse and still desire.
My sweetheart has the kindest breast,
      Two heavens with each a single star;
      They give me everything but rest—
      So strange these rosy pillows are.
My sweetheart has the hungriest lips
      That beg and press unsparingly;
      They cling so close she almost slips
      Among her kisses into me...
~Louis Untermeyer, "Almost," 1915

Is your hand upon my head;
Is your warm mouth pressed to mine.
~Mary Carolyn Davies, "Grace," Youth Riding, 1919

Our lips had melted into an unspeakably long, liquid kiss to which there could be no end. We were speechless, breathless. ~Alcide, Baron de M…, Gamiani, ou Deux Nuits d'excès, 1833, anonymously translated from the French, 1908

My heart is beating with all things that are,
My blood is wild unrest...
What love is in the moon's eternal eyes,
Leaning unto the earth from out the midnight skies!...
This mellow autumn night!
On the late flowers I linger at thy feet.
I tremble when I touch thy garment's rim,
I clasp thy waist, I feel thy bosom's beat—
O kiss me into faintness sweet and dim!
Thou leanest to me as a swelling peach,
Full-juiced and mellow, leaneth to the taker's reach...
~Alexander Smith (1829–1867), “A Life-Drama”

That the very next day I would no longer possess those swooning eyes, those devouring lips, the nightly renewed miracle of that body with its divine contours and savage embraces... long spasms as powerful as sin and as deep as death... ~Octave Mirbeau, "The Mission," The Torture Garden, 1899, translated from the French by Alvah C. Bessie, 1931

Thou art demon and god, thou art hell, thou art heaven,
Thou art love that is lust, thou art lust that is love,
And I see but the heavenly grace of thy body,
      A picture—a poem,…
And the flesh is a soul, tho' it be not eternal.
~George Moore, "The Portrait: Prologue: The Triumph of the Flesh," Pagan Poems, 1881

She pull'd her Robes off one by one;
And did her self undress,
Her purple Mantle fring'd with Gold,
Her Ivory Hands unpinn'd;
It wou'd have made a Coward bold,
Or tempted a Saint to 'a sinn'd...
~“The surpriz'd Nymph, A SONG,” Wit and Mirth: or, Pills to Purge Melancholy, Being a Collection of the Best Merry Ballads and Songs, Old and New, 1707

I am filled with carnivorous lust: like a tiger... ~George Moore, "The Portrait: Prologue: The Triumph of the Flesh," Pagan Poems, 1881

My eyes are like soft twilights, meltings of silver and blue,
My lips are the stain of wild crushed fruit,
My breath is jasmine...
My fingers a velvet caress...
My love is as moonlight to the shadows...
~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "Red Threads of My Heart: XXX," At the Roots of Grasses, 1923

Every morning I get up
Beautiful as the Goddess
Of Love in Enchanted Mountain...
My slender waist and thighs
Are exhausted and weak
From a night of cloud dancing.
But my eyes are still lewd,
And my cheeks are flushed...
My lover, fragrant as incense,
Adjusts my jade hairpins...
And once again we fall over
Overwhelmed with passion.
~Huang O (1498–1569), translated by Kenneth Rexroth and Ling Chung, 1972

Their bodies were now filled with calm and their hearts, like poppies, were at rest. ~Jean Giono (1895–1970), Regain, 1930, translated from the French by Henri Fluchè and Geoffrey Myers, Harvest, 1939

We lay together in the sultry night.
A feeble light
From some invisible street-lamp crept
Into the corner where you slept;
Fingered your cheeks, flew softly round your hair,
Then dipped in the sweet valley of your breasts
And fluttered, like a bird between two nests,
Till it lay quiet there.
My eyes were closing and I may have dreamed—
At least it seemed
That you and I
Had ceased to be but were somehow
As earth and sky…
~Louis Untermeyer, "Summer Storm," The New Adam, 1920

I crave your mouth, your voice, your hair...
~Pablo Neruda (1904–1973), translated from Spanish by Stephen Tapscott

Let me lie, let me die on thy snow-coloured bosom,
I would eat of thy flesh as of delicate fruit,
I am drunk of its smell, and the scent of thy tresses
      Is as flame that devours.
~George Moore, "The Portrait: Prologue: The Triumph of the Flesh," Pagan Poems, 1881

Her hair possessed so powerful an animal odor and was so electrically stimulating, that its mere contact with my skin instantaneously made me forget fever, fatigue and pain... and I immediately felt heroic ardor and new strength flowing and surging through my veins. ~Octave Mirbeau, "The Garden," The Torture Garden, 1899, translated from the French by Alvah C. Bessie, 1931

Let my hair shower about you until you are radiant with perfume;
Let it ripple over you like the wind on summer wheat.
Then give me your lips that we may stand united beneath the downpour of its sunlight.
Let us be intermingled as two trees that have bent one single root...
~Blanche Shoemaker Wagstaff, c. 1913

The night grew closer still, and now
Heat-lightnings played between us and warm thrills
Ran through the cool sides of the trembling hills.
Then darkness and a tension in the black
Hush like a breath held back;
A rippling through the ground, a windless breeze
That reached down to the sensitive roots of trees;
A tremor like the pulse of muffled knocks,
Or like the silent opening of locks…
There was a rising of unfettered seas
With great tides pulling at the stars and rocks
As though to draw them all together.
Then in a burst of blinding weather,
The lightnings flung
Long, passionate arms about the earth that clung
To her wild lover.
Suddenly above her
The whole sky tumbled in a sweeping blaze,
Gathering earth in one tight-locked embrace,
Drenching her in a flood of silver flame.
Hot thunders came;
And still the storm kept plunging, seeking ever
The furthest cranny, till the faraway
Streams felt each penetrating quiver
And the most hidden river
Rose and became released…
~Louis Untermeyer, "Summer Storm," The New Adam, 1920

...when once Desire has inflam'd the Soul,
All modest Doubts withdraw...
~Lewis Theobald (1688–1744), Ballad in the Third Act, the Tapestry-Scene, in Elkanah Settle's The Lady's Triumph, 1718

Ye Gods! the Raptures of that Night!
What fierce Convulsions of Delight!
How in each others Arms involv'd
We lay, confounded, and dissolv'd!
Bodies mingling, Sexes blending,
Which should most be lost contending,
Darting fierce and flaming Kisses,
Plunging into boundless Blisses;
Our Bodies, as our Souls, on Fire,
Tost by a Tempest of Desire,
Till with utmost Fury driv'n,
Down at once we sunk to Heav'n.
~The Art of English Poetry: A Collection of the Most Natural and Sublime Thoughts in the Best English Poets, by Edward Bysshe, 1710

I am the love-mad of life.
      I have reached out in my pain to the love-frenzied grouse.
      I have called in my understanding to the deer in their rutting season.
      I have come with gentle words to the mating chirpings in the eaves.
      I have touched tenderly the seeking pollen.
      I have come with bated breath to the spawn at the beginnings of streams.
I am the ache of overfullness.
      My breasts are crowded with containing.
      My hands tremble with the eagerness of me.
      I am rent and torn with the pain of the unexpressed.
~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "Creation Songs: III," A Soul's Faring, 1921

Was love too much of chaos?—the hot senses,
The breath disturbed, the blood's rebellion shaking
Your delicate Eden with its recompenses?...
~Joseph Auslander, "Letter to Elinor Wylie," 1920s

EADIE.  (She pours a little more whiskey in the glass then swallows half of the liquor in one gulp.) I'll bet you're thinkin' you married a rummy or somethin'. Well, don't worry about it. I only take a drink when I feel good. And right now everything is wonderful! You're wonderful. You're the most beautiful man God ever made... (She kisses him lightly and waltzes across the room...)
JOHNNY.  I think you're a little high.
EADIE.  (Smiling languidly.) Uh. Huh. You're goin' to have trouble with me tonight.
JOHNNY.  (Fearfully.) What kind of trouble?
EADIE.  Good trouble. (She reaches into the bag and removes a pink negligee. She drapes it around herself.) You like this? It's my whole trousseau.
~Don Appell, "The Wedding Night," Lullaby, 1953  [a little altered —tg]

All the wishes of my mind know your name,
And the white desires of my heart
They are acquainted with you.
The cry of my body for completeness,
That is a cry to you.
My blood beats out your name to me, unceasing, pitiless—
Your name, your name.
~Mary Carolyn Davies, "Love-songs," 1915

I wake up with my mind full of you. Your portrait, and the intoxicating evening of yesterday, allowed no rest to my senses... Sweet and incomparable Joséphine, what is this curious effect you have upon my heart? I draw from your lips, from your heart, a flame that scorches me... I shall see you in three hours. Meanwhile, my sweet love, a million kisses; but give me none, for they set my blood on fire. ~Napoléon Bonaparte, letter to wife, 1795

Eve's rounded arm was thrown above her head,
Her dimpled knee just lifted from her bed,
When, by chance, this trifle, light as air,
Their warm lips met and, trembling, lingered there.
They slept no more from dusk to rosy dawn,
'Mongst roses red or on some grassy lawn,
But wakened often, from strange dreams of bliss,
To find their mouths all melting in a kiss...
~Anonymous, “The Fall of Man,” in Immortalia, by A Gentleman about Town, 1927

No thought had come to them of wild desire
And yet, at times, a smouldering, hidden fire
Seemed slumbering deep within, and fiercer burned.
When, in their sleep, they toward each other turned...
Eve's little, truant, tapering fingers slim,
Beloved of Adam and caressed him,
By accident one night, got wondrous wise,
And found just where the trees of knowledge rise...
~Anonymous, “The Fall of Man,” in Immortalia, by A Gentleman about Town, 1927

Then suddenly with savage, passionate clasp,
She drew him to her with an eager grasp
And sank exhausted, yet with cheeks aflame,
A-thrill with feelings which she could not name.
And Adam, swept away on seas of bliss,
Poured all his soul in one long, clinging kiss.
'Twas pain, 'twas pleasure, 'twas a joy intense.
It seemed as tho along each quivering sense,
Swift rivulets of fire had found their way
And burned their hearts. They knew not night nor day,
Nor life, nor death, nor aught that mortals know...
They only knew they loved each other so...
~Anonymous, “The Fall of Man,” in Immortalia, by A Gentleman about Town, 1927

      Do you remember how you used to clasp one arm about me and pull down my collar with the other hand and bite my throat and say to my protest, "But I like to bite you." You bear!
      I cannot put it out of mind. You and our long yearning I cannot put away... It overrides all else. It thrusts itself between me and every duty... your dear countenance, your eyes, your kisses and repeated protests of devotion. I lose myself in memory of them and become unconscious of whatever else is. Active will cannot blow through my love and clear it of misty passion. I seek to make it until I fall exhausted, and then the tenderness in my heart warms and sparkles and vitalises in the pure sunshine of love. ~Kate Stephens, A Woman's Heart, 1906

For lust is love, and love is king o'er kings
      And master of earthly things.
~George Moore, "Ode to a Dead Body," Flowers of Passion, 1878

...Warm and so soft, and find your lips to kiss,
And tear at your strange flesh with crazy fingers,
And drink with mouth gone mad your eyes' wild wine,
And cleave to you, body with breathless body,
Till bestial were exalted to divine...
~Conrad Aiken, “Discordants,” Turns and Movies and other Tales in Verse, 1916

...the fragrance—
Of your skin is sweeter to me than the perfumes of a million roses...
~Blanche Shoemaker Wagstaff, c. 1913

I lift to you
My bowl of kisses,
And through the temple's
Blue recesses
Cry out to you
In wild caresses.
~D. H. Lawrence (1885–1930), “Mystery”

Lay your heart against my heart that I may hear your love summoning me to forgetfulness.
Lay your tresses about me that I may feel their warm sun streaming thro' my veins.
Lay your mouth on my mouth until all dissolves in mist about me...
~Blanche Shoemaker Wagstaff, c. 1913

I feel you now stroking my hair. Your touch magnetises and makes me helpless. ~Kate Stephens, A Woman's Heart, 1906

I'll be a park, and thou shalt be my deer;
Feed where thou wilt, on mountain or in dale:
Graze on my lips; and if those hills be dry,
Stray lower, where the pleasant fountains lie.
~William Shakespeare, "Venus and Adonis," c. 1593

Come to me, press upon my brow the coolness of your
Young lips that I may hear the thunder of your love in the night...
~Blanche Shoemaker Wagstaff, c. 1913

I feel your heart beating in your hands as they touch me;
I feel your breath
Sobbing against my hair.
Oh, put your mouth on mine and leave it so —
~Mary Carolyn Davies, "Songs of a Girl: XIII," Youth Riding, 1919

Silently you take me in your arms...
We know nothing but the thunder of our veins...
We are swept out into a sea of infinite oblivion.
~Blanche Shoemaker Wagstaff, c. 1913

At your deep blush, when ecstasies thread
The limbs and belly, when rainbows spread...
~Hart Crane (1899–1932), "For the Marriage of Faustus and Helen"

She comes: in the doorway I see her…
She steps out,—Good-morning!
My rival, the gale, is ahead of me, kissing her lips…
Arrow-sun from the heaven darts
Confusing with gold her glance…
Bee thinks her lips are a rose-bud:
Brush him off, darling…
And come, come hither…
I know an angle in the fence
Where lovers may say good-morning.
~James Oppenheim, "Good-morning," War and Laughter, 1916

The Countess was raving mad. The pleasure had bereft her of her reason... ~Alcide, Baron de M…, Gamiani, ou Deux Nuits d'excès, 1833, anonymously translated from the French, 1908

Here in this moonlit room, I watch you slip
One shoulder from your dress and turn to me;
A polished statue, flushing to the tip
Of marble fingers gradually.
And, like a ripe moon out of flimsy clouds,
Blossoms the shining fullness of your breast.
These curves conceal, this dear perfection shrouds
A soft, miraculous nest.
Your ivory body pulses as the white
Flesh catches flame and rosy tremblings move
Over this sanctuary of delight...
~Louis Untermeyer, "Ivory and Rose," The New Adam, 1920

My breasts are soft as the velvet of roses, and warm as a tear. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "Red Threads of My Heart: XXIX," At the Roots of Grasses, 1923

You only can allay the fever of my spirit!
On your lips I should drain the fountain of life.
On your white breast I shall breathe the perfume of numberless lilies.
Therein I shall die a thousand deaths and arise reborn in the awful splendor of your love...
~Blanche Shoemaker Wagstaff, c. 1913

Winter skies are cold and low,
with harsh winds and freezing sleet.
But when we make love beneath our quilt,
we make three summer months of heat.
~Tzu Yeh, 4th century, translated by Sam Hamill, c. 1995

Whatever happens with us, your body
will haunt mine — tender, delicate
your lovemaking, like the half-curled frond
of the fiddlehead fern in forests
just washed by sun...
~Adrienne Rich, The Dream of a Common Language: Poems 1974–1977, 1978

i like my body when it is with your
body... which i will
again and again and again
kiss, i like kissing this and that of you,
i like, slowly stroking the, shocking fuzz
of your electric fur...
~E. E. Cummings (1894–1962)

I love you,
      asterisk — lust.
~Terri Guillemets, "the poem you know," 2009

If human mouths were really roses, my dear,—
(Why must we link things so?—)
I would tear yours petal from petal...
I would pluck the stamens, the pistils...
Spreading the subtle sweetness... your breath...
~Conrad Aiken, "The Charnel Rose," 1915

Upon a Summer's day,
'Bout middle of the morn,
I spy'd a Lass that lay
Stark nak'd as she was born...
'Twas by a running Pool...
And there she lay to cool...
Then did she by degrees
Wash every part in rank,
Her Arms, her breasts, her thighs,
Her Belly, and her Flank;
Her legs she opened wide,
My eyes I let down steal,
Until that I espied
Dame nature's privy Seal...
~Anonymous, "The Maid a Bathing," in Merry Drollery, 1661

I love you... I kiss your ripe red lips, your dazzling teeth, your little hands, and your twinkling feet. ~Juliette Drouet, letter to Victor Hugo, 1838

Beneath the myrtle's secret shade,
      When Delia blest my eyes;
At first I view'd the lovely maid
      In silent soft surprise.
With trembling voice, and anxious mind,
      I softly whisper'd love;
She blush'd a smile so sweetly kind,
      Did all my fears remove.
Her lovely yielding form I prest,
      Sweet maddening kisses stole;
And soon her swimming eyes confest
      The wishes of her soul:
In wild tumultuous bliss, I cry,
      "O Delia, now be kind!"
She press'd me close, and with a sigh,
      To melting joys resign'd.
~Robert Dodsley (1703–1764), "The Progress of Love"

You'll kiss me hard... ~William Shakespeare, Winter's Tale, c.1610  [II, 1, Mamillius]

What?—your throat is bruised, bruised with my kisses?
Ah, but if I am cruel what then are you?
I am bruised right through.
~D. H. Lawrence (1885–1930), “A Bad Beginning”

Her kisses were so close and kind,
That, trust me on my word,
Hard wood I am, and wrinkled rind,
But yet my sap was stirr'd...
~Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809–1892), "The Talking Oak”

Then his Breath grew short, and his Heart beat high,
He long'd to touch what he chanc'd to spy...
~Lewis Theobald (1688–1744), Ballad in the Third Act, the Tapestry-Scene, in Elkanah Settle's The Lady's Triumph, 1718

Passion does not study anatomy in books. ~Terri Guillemets, “Venules,” 1989

Wearily there he had lain for hours
On his cushion soft as a heap of flowers,
Till the harem ladies, distraught, distressed,
Came fluttering out of their fragrant nest,
Light as the lily, fleet as the fawn,
Caught in the colors that tremble at dawn.
Halima laved with her delicate hand
His brow with the attar of Samarkand;
Barakah, robed in an ocean green,
Tinkled the bells of her tambourine;
The slim Circassian, Malkhatoon,
Danced as light as a wave-caught moon;
Afifa with odorous peacock fan
Wafted a zephyr to his divan.
Zelica sang with her pomegranate lips,
Sweet as the comb when the honey drips,
And her bosom shook like a rose-tree stirred
By the trembling grief of a singing bird.
~Edwin Markham, "The Shoes of Happiness," The Shoes of Happiness and Other Poems, 1913

The beating of my heart, the quickening phallic pulsation... ~James Oppenheim, The Mystic Warrior, 1921

There was a young man from Kent
Whose [pr!@%] was so long it bent,
      To save himself trouble
      He put it in double,
And instead of coming he went.
~Immortalia: An Anthology of American Ballads, Sailors' Songs, Cowboy Songs, College Songs, Parodies, Limericks, and Other Humorous Verses and Doggerel Now for the First Time Brought Together in Book Form, by A Gentleman about Town, 1927

...sometime when you are heavy with sleep — I shall pull the covering aside and kiss you right there where the heart beats. ~Kate Stephens, A Woman's Heart, 1906

Ah, thou art a delightful creature... thou shalt be my queen. Come and sit astride on the throne. Take the burning sceptre in one hand, and hide it deep in thy empire... Oh, naughty lover... ~Alcide, Baron de M…, Gamiani, ou Deux Nuits d'excès, 1833, anonymously translated from the French, 1908

[Her] beautiful body stiffened and fell back as she drenched me with her liquid favours... I thought all my life was leaving my veins. What an excess of pleasure!.. ~Alcide, Baron de M…, Gamiani, ou Deux Nuits d'excès, 1833, anonymously translated from the French, 1908

Tir'd with the Bus'ness of the Day,
Upon her Couch supinely lay
Fair Melesinda void of Care,
No living Creature being near:
When straight a calm and gentle Sleep
Did o'er her drowsy Eye-lids creep...
She dreamt her self a new-made Bride
In Bed, by young Philander's Side...
With panting Breasts, and swimming Eyes,
She meets the visionary Joys;
In all the Amorous Postures Love,
Which th' Height of Extasy cou'd move:
But as she roving did advance
Her trembling Legs, O dire Mischance!
The Couch being near the fire-side,
Sh' expanded them, alas! too wide:
Sh' expos'd her nethermost Attire
Unto th' Embraces of the Fire;
So the chast Phoenix of the East
With flutt'ring fires her spicy Nest.
So Semele, embracing Jove,
Burnt with Fire and with Love.
The Flames at first did trembling seize
The dangling Hem of the lost Prize;
But finding no Resistance, higher
As 'tis their Nature to aspire,
Approaching near the Seat of Bliss,
The Center of earthly happiness,
Which vastly more of Pleasure yields,
Than all the feign'd Elysian Fields...
~Thomas Brown (1663–1704), "Melesinda's Misfortune on the Burning of her Smock," 1690  [Brown's moral of the story: Misfortunes will betide "When Maidens throw their Legs too wide..." —tg]

Be thou not ashamed of lust —
desire was born in primal dust
it mingled with the seas of life
to make the mud we know as love
~Terri Guillemets

I have been a hundred times at a loss to know why we should be ashamed to speak of what Nature was not ashamed to create. ~Pietro Aretino (1492–1556), translated from Italian

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published 2011 Sep 9
revised May–Jun 2021
last saved 2024 Apr 2