Imitated from AULUS GELLIUS


Love with his finger light imprest
Near her bright lip a mystic seal,
And softness there delights to rest
Ambrosia from her breath to steal.


[1] EDITOR'S NOTE: "Imitated from Aulus Gellius" does not appear in Psyche, with Other Poems or Mary (or Collected Poems and Journals) and is undated in Verses. It presents a verse translation of two verses cited by Aulus Gellius in 19:11 of his 20-volume commonplace book commonplace book Noctes Atticae or Attic Nights. The first is by Plato: "τὴν ψυχὴν Ἀγάθωνα φιλῶν ἐπὶ χείλεσιν εἶχον· / ἦλθε γὰρ ἡ τλήμων ὡς διαβησομένη" ("My soul, when I kissed Agathon, did pass My lips; as though, poor soul, would leap across," John C. Rolfe translation). The second is a paraphrase of Plato by an unidentified contemporary of Gellius's: "Dum semihiulco savio / meum puellum savior / dulcemque florem spiritus / duco ex aperto tramite, / anima aegra et saucia / cucurrit ad labeas mihi, / rictumque in oris pervium / et labra pueri mollia, / rimata itineri transitus, / ut transiliret, nititur. / Tum si morae quid plusculae / fuisset in coetu osculi, / Amoris igni percita / transisset et me linqueret, / et mira prorsum res foret, / ut fierem ad me mortuus, / ad puerulum intus viverem" ("When with my parted lips my love I kiss, / And quaff the breath's sweet balm from open mouth, / Smitten with love my soul mounts to my lips, / And through my love's soft mouth its way would take, / Passing the open gateway of the lips. / But if our kiss, delayed, had been prolonged, / By love's fire swayed my soul that way had ta'en, / And left me. Faith, a wondrous thing it were, / If I should die, but live within my love" (392-93). BACK