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'TWAS summer, and already past the hour of noon. I flung myself on my couch to rest my limbs. My windows were but half open. The light of my chamber was like the light of the woods, or like the glow which follows after sunset; or father, like the twilight that comes between departing night and dawning day. Such is the light that is befitting for young women of reserve; in its mystery their timid modesty may find concealment.

Behold Corinna cometh, her shift ungirdled, her tresses hanging loose on either side her snowy neck. In such guise did the fair Semiramis offer herself to the caresses

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of her spouse, and thus did Lais give welcome to her many lovers. I raised her shift, which withal was of so fine a texture that it was but a flimsy obstacle. Howbeit Corinna was not willing to be deprived of her raiment. She strove, but not as one whose will it is to conquer. Soon she gave up the struggle and consented to be conquered.

When, her apparel laid aside, she stood naked before mine eyes, not a blemish was to be seen on her whole body. What shoulders, what arms it was my privilege to behold and to touch. What bliss to press a bosom shaped so perfectly for such caresses. How soft and smooth her skin beneath her lovely breasts, how divine her figure, how firm and plump her thighs. But wherefore should I here tell o’er the number of her charms? Nought did I see that was not perfect, nor was there aught, how thin soe'er, between her lovely body and my own. Need I tell the rest? Wearied, we rested from our toil. May many an afternoon be thus sped by.


Aestus erat, mediamque dies exegerat horam;
    adposui medio membra levanda toro.
pars adaperta fuit, pars altera clausa fenestrae;
    quale fere silvae lumen habere solent,
5 qualia sublucent fugiente crepuscula Phoebo,
    aut ubi nox abiit, nec tamen orta dies.
illa verecundis lux est praebenda puellis,
    qua timidus latebras speret habere pudor.
ecce, Corinna venit, tunica velata recincta,
10     candida dividua colla tegente coma--
qualiter in thalamos famosa Semiramis isse
    dicitur, et multis Lais amata viris.
Deripui tunicam--nec multum rara nocebat;
    pugnabat tunica sed tamen illa tegi.
15 quae cum ita pugnaret, tamquam quae vincere nollet,
    victa est non aegre proditione sua.
ut stetit ante oculos posito velamine nostros,
    in toto nusquam corpore menda fuit.
quos umeros, quales vidi tetigique lacertos!
20     forma papillarum quam fuit apta premi!
quam castigato planus sub pectore venter!
    quantum et quale latus! quam iuvenale femur!
Singula quid referam? nil non laudabile vidi
    et nudam pressi corpus ad usque meum.
25 Cetera quis nescit? lassi requievimus ambo.
    proveniant medii sic mihi saepe dies!

Next: Elegy VI: He Conjures The Porter To Open The Door Of His Mistress's House.