VI "Quaeris quot mihi &c"

VI
"Quaeris quot mihi &c" [1] 

Rather bid thine ardent lover
Tell the sands on Libya's shore,
Than the number to discover
Of the joys his lips implore.
Countless thousands be thy kisses5
As the starry eyes of night,
When the lovers' secret blisses
Silently she veils from sight.
Mixed with mine in sweet confusion,
So swiftly let thy kisses flow,10
That inquisitive intrusion
Never may their number know.
Thy Catullus fondly sighing,
Kisses numberless would ask,
That the envious eye copying15
Vain may own the curious task.

Notes

[1] EDITOR'S NOTE: "Rather bid thine ardent lover" 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 Catullus's 12-line Carmina poem 7 (“You ask how many kissings of you, Lesbia, are enough for me and more than enough,” Francis Cornish translation):

Quaeris quot mihi basiationes
tuae, Lesbia, sint satis superque.
quam magnus numerus Libyssae harenae
laserpiciferis iacet Cyrenis,
oraclum Iovis inter aestuosi5
et Batti veteris sacrum sepulcrum,
aut quam sidera multa, cum tacet nox,
furtivos hominum vident amores,
tam te basia multa basiare
vesano satis et super Catullo est,10
quae nec pernumerare curiosi
possint nec mala fascinare lingua.
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