I am often amazed and entertained by the mischievous songs and poems of centuries gone by that historical romance authors manage to dredge up. When I stumbled upon a copy of “Libertine Lyrics: By Various Authors Mostly of the XVII and XVIII Centuries,” I knew I had to have it. The image above is an edited (and sanitized) version of one of the illustrations in the book. Here is one of the poems. The author is anonymous.
A Motion To Pleasure
Still to affect, still to admire,
Yet never satisfy desire
With touch of hand, or lip, or that
Which pleaseth best (I name not what),-
Like Tantalus I pining die,
Taking Love’s dainties at the eye.
Nature made nothing but for use,
And, fairest, ‘twere a gross abuse
To her best work if you it hold
Unused, like misers’ ill-got gold,
Or keep it in a virgin scorn,
Like rich robes that are never worn.