Amores III:14

Since you are so beautiful I do not plead with you not to sin; but only that you not force miserable me to know about it. I don’t require that you be chaste, but I ask that you make an effort to lie about it. The woman who can claim she doesn’t sin is without sin; only admitted guilt makes a woman notorious. 

What madness is it that leads you you to admit in the daylight the things that were hidden in darkness, and to say openly what you did in secret? Even the whore about to couple with a stranger first shoots the bolt lest someone walk in on them.

Do you publish your sins for the sake of ill fame? Do you pursue an indictment of your own behavior? Get some common sense and at least pretend to imitate chaste women, allowing me to think you’re honest though you won’t be.

Continue to do the things you’ve been doing–but deny that you’ve done them. don’t be ashamed to keep at least your language modest.

Create a place for your wantonness. Fill it with all delights and make modesty stand outside. When you go from that place, though, let all lust remain behind and leave your sins behind on the bed.

In that place, strip off your clothing and your chastity, and time after time lay thigh on thigh. There let the tongue thrust into purple lips and let desire teach love a thousand different positions. There urge him on with words and wordless cries, and let the bedframe shudder with the violence of your lust.

When you don your tunic, put on also a face that shuns all sin and let an expression of chastity belie the sexual acrobatics you’ve just performed. Lie to the public and lie to me. Allow me to wander in ignorance, happy in my foolish credulity.

Why must I so often see you send and receive letters? Why is your bed furrowed before I get into it? Why have more than dreams tousled your hair and why do I see bite marks on your shoulders? You shouldn’t make your actions so obvious. If you don’t care about sparing your reputation, at least spare me!

I grow faint and tremble whenever you admit your sins; ice water flows through my veins. Then I love you and vainly try to hate, because love I must. I wish I were dead–but dead wiht you.

I swear I’ll never ask you what you’re doing nor try to ferret out the things you set about to hide. The best gift you can give me is your lie.

If nonetheless you’re caught in the middle of your sin and are proved unfaithful by the evidence of my eyes, still deny what we both know full well I saw. Your words will vanquish the evidence of my eyes. The palm of victory inclines to you, conquering one who wishes to be conquered, so long as your tongue remembers to say, “I didn’t!”

With those two words you will succeed, though you triumph because of your judge rather than the strength of your case.

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