By Pierre Louÿs

‘Sing, oh Muse, of the deeds of Bilitis, poetess, priestess and courtesan of Aphrodite…’ This new unabridged translation of the Songs of Bilitis, in contrast to the Alvah Bessie translation, comprises all a hundred and fifty of Pierre Louÿs’ poems. The Songs inform of the tragic amorous affairs and piety of a half-Greek, half-Phoenician courtesan and poet who was once the modern of the well-known Sappho of Lesbos, known as the 10th Muse via Plato. They sing of the average great thing about Southern Anatolia, Lesbos and Cyprus. They converse of the follies of formative years and the madness of grownup wants. They compliment goddesses and courtesans, and examine idyllic pleasure and concrete strife. This version contains annotations explaining Greek phrases with regards to every little thing from banal goods, akin to garments and forex, to the realm of the divine as understood by means of our Classical forbearers, in order that even the reader with out wisdom of historic Greece can benefit from the poems. It additionally offers an perception into the lifestyles and schooling of the infamous Pierre Louÿs. This version comprises the illustrations of Willy Pogany, in addition to photos, either Classical and Postclassical, that aid to demonstrate phrases and ideas present in the poem.

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Her palms are connected through little pegs, and the legs themselves bend. once we are jointly it lays among us and is our baby. At evening she cradles it and offers it the breast sooner than drowsing. She has sewn it 3 small tunics, and we provide it jewels on Aphrodisian days, jewels and plant life besides. She is cautious of its advantage and not shall we it exit with out her; now not within the solar, notably, for the little doll could soften into drops of wax. sixty five — Endearments lightly shut your hands, like a belt, on me. Oh contact, oh contact my epidermis besides! Neither water nor the midday breeze is softer than your hand. this present day cherish me, little sister, it’s your flip. take into accout the endearments I taught you the evening earlier than, and shut to I who am weary kneel with no talking. Your lips descend to my lips. all of your undone hair follows them, because the caress follows the kiss. They drift on my left breast; they cover from me your eyes. provide me your hand. How scorching it truly is! Press it to mine, depart it now not. fingers mingle the place lips unite, and their ardour is the equivalent of not anything! sixty six — video games greater than her balls or her doll, i'm for her a plaything. With all of the elements of my physique she amuses herself as a baby, in the course of the lengthy hours, with no talking. She undid my hair and stuck it in line with her whim, occasionally knotted less than the chin like a thick fabric, or twisted in a bun or braided unto the tip. She regards with astonishment the color of my lashes, the criminal of my elbow. occasionally she makes me kneel and position my palms at the sheets; Then (and this is often one in all her video games) she slips her head beneath and imitates the trembling child nursing on the abdominal of her mom. sixty eight — Penumbra lower than the obvious wool textile we slid, her and me. Even our arms have been huddled, and the lamp lit the fabric above us. hence I observed her adored physique in a mysterious gentle. We have been towards each other, extra liberated, extra intimate, extra bare. “In the self-same slip,” she stated. We remained coiffed to stick extra uncovered, and within the skinny air of the mattress, the scents of 2 girls ascended, as typical incenses. not anything on the earth, now not even the lamp, has noticeable us tonight. Which folks used to be enjoyed, simply she or i may say. however the males understand not anything. sixty nine — The Sleeper She sleeps in her undone hair, fingers jointly in the back of her neck. Does she dream? Her mouth is open; she breathes softly. With a little white down, I wipe, yet with no waking her, the sweat from her hands, the fever from her cheeks. Her closed eyelids are blue vegetation. Ever so rigorously i am getting up; I’ll draw the water, milk the cow and ask fireplace of the neighbours. i need to be crimped and dressed whilst she opens her eyes. Sleep, abide awhile betwixt her appealing curled lashes and proceed the satisfied evening via an auspicious dream. 70 — The Kiss i'll kiss from one finish to a different the lengthy black wings of your neck, oh candy poultry, captive dove whose middle bounds below my hand. i'm going to take your mouth in my mouth as an little one takes the breast of her mom. Shiver! … for the kiss penetrates deeply and suffices the sweetheart.

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