A Roman Lady

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A Roman Lady
by Robert Ervin Howard

There is a strangeness in my soul
   A dark and brooding sea.
Nor all the waves on Capri's shoal
   Might stay the thirst of me.
For men have come and men have gone
   For pleasure or for hire.
Though they lay broken at the dawn
   They did not quench my fire.
My pity is a deathly ruth
   I burn men with my eyes.
Oh, would all men were one strong youth
   To break between my thighs.
Any many a man his fortune spread
   To glut my ecstacy
As I lay panting on his bed
   In shameless nudity.
But all of ancient Egypt's gold
   Can never equal this,
Nor all the treasures kingdoms hold,
   A single hour of bliss.
Within my villa's high domain
   Are boys from Britain's rocks
And dark eyed slender lads from Spain
   And Greeks with perfumed locks.
And youths of soft and subtle speech
   From furtherest Orient,
Wherever arms of legions reach
   And Roman chains are sent.
Why may I not be satiate
   With kisses of some boy—
They only rouse my passions spate
   I never know such joy
As when through chambers filled with noise
   Of wails and pleas and sighs
I stride among my naked boys
   With whips that bruise their thighs.
I drift through mists red flaming flung
   On hills of ecstacies
As shoulder-wealed and buttock-stung
   They shriek and kiss my knees.