c.1735 or 1749
NOTES:The author of The Sappho-An is unknown. The date does not appear on the title page, but the copy in the University of Kansas library has the inscription Toms Coffee House, April 10 1749; however, some scholars have assigned a publication date as early as c. 1735. It may be related to an attack by William King on the alleged same-sex activities of the Countess of Newburgh, Lady Frances Brudenell in the 1730s, comparing her to Sappho, who taught How to pair the Female Doves, / How to practise Lesbian Loves. In Kings The Toast, 1732, the Duchess is attacked under the name Myra, and since one of the Lesbian dames in the Sappho-An is given the name Mira, it is possible that William King was also the author of The Sappho-An and that it was written in the early 1730s. The suffix -An in the title just means circle of or group of, i.e. members of the club of Sappho. This is the first publication of the full transcription of the poem. Although it covers the subject of sex between women "Inverting nature in an horrid way" and is explicit about themes of cunnilingus, fellatio, rubbing, fingering, masturbation, sodomy (heterosexual and homosexual), and the many uses of the dildo, it is not exactly an example of lesbian erotica, because it is obviously written to titillate male readers. Rictor Norton
An Heroic Poem, Of Three Cantos.
In the Ovidian Stile,
Describing the PLEASURES which the FAIR SEX
Enjoy with Each Other.
According to the Modern and most Polite Taste.
Found amongst the Papers of a Lady of Quality, a great Promoter of JACONITISM.
Nec me Pyrrbiades Methemniadesve puellae,
Nec me Lesbiadum cætera turba juvant.
Vilis Anactorie, vilis mihi candida Cydno:
Non oculis grata est Attihis, ut ante, meis.
Atque aliae centum, quas non fine crimine amavi.
SWAINS of Britannias happy, gladsome isle,
Who wait submissive on the fair-ones smile;
And all the soothing arts of lovers try
In hopes to make the cruel Nymph comply;
Know, whilst you idle thus away your time,
Women in secret joys consume their prime;
Some favrite maid, or handy young coquette,
Steals the rich prize you vainly strive to get;
Of them be cautious; but the artful prude
Watch most, for she will thoughtless girls delude;
At break of Day when you have often mournd
Your tender billet-doux, unread, returnd,
And thought some happier rival in the place
When you expected the long-wishd embrace;
Your lovely nymph, in private, quenchd her flame
With some experiencd, well-known, crafty dame,
Who knew the softest way to reach her heart,
And proudly vyd with nature in her art.
FORGIVE, ye girls, ye tender, youthful fair,
Who make the joys of love your chiefest care;
Forgive the muse, that in her censure bold,
The private prostitutes woud quite unfold;
Scorns their endearments, and their artful wiles,
Their feignd affections, and convulsive smiles:
Nature she close pursues, the first great cause,
Where love predominant gives nature laws;
Not the low lust that will corrode the breast,
And turn the noblest passion to a jest;
On such if satire lights, all sure will join
Who woud not baulk the institute divine;
Tender to you who clasp the vigrous youth,
And meet him full of ardour, love and truth;
Whose veins with transport glow, whose beaming eyes
Dart love in evry ray, and fond surprize
To that fair shrine, the greatest blessing givn,
The sum of all, the miniature of heavn;
What man but bows not witih obedient grace,
Drawn by thalluring portal of the face?
There point your charms, there study to engage,
Nor Amazonian warfare vainly wage,
If too severe on those who run astray,
Inverting nature in an horrid way,
Warm with the wrongs which all the world must feel,
Blame not the satrist, but the fraud reveal.
OF hidden secrets, but to few reveald,
Most careful by the female sex conceald,
We sing: O let the nicely shading lawn
On womans errors be officious drawn!
Yet as thro that their lovely breasts appear,
So, make some of their choicest follies clear.
THOU goddess, to the Roman ladies known!
Thou Bona Dea! once of high renown;
Whose sacred rites all vulgar eyes seclude,
Restord by Livia, the Augustan prude;
Till Clodius interposd, and by a cheat
In womans dress, discoverd the deceit:
Do thou with gentle beams inspire my verse,
The progress of thy votries to rehearse,
When in soft dalliance they waste the night,
To form some new invention of delight:
Oh paint the blissful scene, the soft distress,
Which only gentle murmurs can express!
Think, on the couch you see the lovely maid
Extended, and her limbs for pleasure spread;
To her own sex a treasure she resigns,
A treasure richer than Peruvian mines.
CONGENIAL Love first with the world began;
It smild in woman, and it ragd in man:
But in the tendrest forms its impulse reignd,
And modesty felt stings when most restraind;
The diffrent sexes rushd to the embrace,
And man with woman pushd the genial chace;
Till brutal Lust broke in on loves frontier,
And sullied that fair stream that once ran clear;
The muddy channel, thus disturbd and hurt,
Grew quite impure, and seemd a flood of dirt.
No longer Heaven in its fair bosom shews,
But poisons all the country where it flows:
Like the Asphaltine lake where, once, tis said,
The hateful Sodom reard her horrid head,
None of the featherd race can wing the air,
The fruit yields death that grows around, tho fair.
THIS emblem of false love let all observe,
Who from the dictates of true nature swerve,
The female birds will all their feathers lose,
Nor woman will a witherd apple chuse.
FEARFUL of shame, they tryd a curious art,
And saw the Doves their cooing joys impart;
From thence they learnd, that even suction easd,
And by partition both were highly pleasd:
In antient Greece the ladies knew full well
Who best in these Olimpics coud excel;
There, as from dews the Bees their honey sip,
The dames woud dwell upon the ruby lip;
Till, by their joys excited, they rise highr,
And dart the tongue to raise the glowing fire;
Nor stopt they there, but full fruition sought,
The finger was an useful, charming thought.
Blush not if I relate the tender joys,
Which dames of old receivd from growing boys:
Eer puberty appeard, they chose the child,
Of sanguine colour, and affections mild;
Whose rose hue denoted chearful thought,
Whose azure veins with blood were richly fraught;
Better if from his head the ringlets flow,
Of auborn hair, and wanton to and fro;
That boy, as formd for love, the nymphs esteem,
And kindly condescend to toy with him;
Huggd on the lap, theyd listen to his chat,
Give the fond kiss, or kind approving pat;
With tender hand his supple limbs explore,
And revel all his hidden beauties oer;
Presaging from the view of natures plan,
What joys may be expected from the man.
SOMETIMES, more bold, to wanton acts theyd move;
And teach the little lad small feats of love;
The ladies knew not then the higher taste,
Which modern nymphs have since with glee embracd
But fed their appetite at any rate,
Where nture bloomd, tho in an humble state;
Till Paris came to quench her amrous rage,
The beauteous Helen kept herself a page;
This custom to bold fiction soon gave rise,
And poets formd the fable in a trice;
Venus, the queen of love, that all inspires
With glowing heat, and gentle lambent fires,
Which as they mount, the genial juices swell,
And make the gloating eye their wishes tell;
She, when her lover, bold, intrepid Mars,
Was forcd to quit endearments for fierce wars,
With little Cupid toyd an hour away,
And with his dart in mimickry woud play.
So fond she was, then hence the scandal run,
The little hero was indeed her son.
But ask the Paphian nymphs, or Gnidos dames,
Theyll tell ye, he oft quenchd the Goddess flames.
This sport long time the gayer nymphs of old,
Did in the highest veneration hold.
HOWEVER sage Mythologists contend,
Yet with religion lust they needs must blend:
Theres not a God but had his fille-de-joye,
And some perhaps besides their favrite boy;
Even old Saturn, quite unfit for sport,
Yet now and then woud to some nymph make court:
Jove, as the head, was greatest on this score,
For at his heart, all know, Jove lovd a whe [whore].
Juno, who was indeed a very wife,
Knew all his haunts, and raisd perpetual strife;
For tho well pleasd herself, she coud not bear
That any other shoud her portion share;
Quick thro her veins the darting venom run,
She vowd revenge shoud smart their godships soon:
Thus jealousy, the bane of life to prove,
First introducd foul passions into love;
Those with propriety you may call lust,
Where all is horrid, shocking, and unjust;
But cease, ye graver dons, who loudly rail
Gainst the ford pair, where tender joys prevail;
Formd for each other, both the Sexes start,
Pant to the goal, and throb the gladning heart:
This is true love, by any means attaind,
By heavn itself for highest bliss ordaind;
This well the goddess knew, who oft had felt
The soft sensation that had made her melt;
The oftner the full banquet met her taste,
The more she grudgd the loss of each repast.
REVOLVING in her mind the horrid slight,
She means to make her husband feel her spight;
That for his sake the world shoud feel a curse,
And women grasp all lust without remorse;
Her husbands lightning flashing from her eyes,
She swears revenge shall give what love denies.
Shall I, says she, my couch bedew with tears,
While Jove, that retrograde, his trophies rears
Oer eery damsels spoils that lies supine,
Piercd by the javlin that shoud be but mine,
His thunderbolt that strikes mankind with dread,
Only thrills warmth into the yielding maid;
That bolt, which I in play have often hurld,
And given terror to th affrighted world,
Who thought it thunderd, whilst our eager joys
And murmring transports causd the pleasing noise,
Shall mortal wenches share cœlestial bliss,
And goddesses not even gain a kiss?
Nor mine alone is this disgrace; look round
Th Olympian court, no god is honest found:
For not the female bed alone they court,
But ruddy boys afford them filthy sport,
There sticks the rancour, venom there corrodes,
That poisons even the divine abodes.
If their sex thus can find their own delight,
Sure we some way each other may invite!
Here then my fury rests, Ill strait convene
The jealous goddesses tattend their queen.
SHE sends for Maias son [i.e. Hermes/Mercury], the nimble post,
On all occasions to the Olimpic host:
Her cards were ready wrote, (that customs old,
Tho moderns claim th invention; vain and bold)
She gives the gentle missives to his hands,
And bids him execute her strict commands.
THE featherd thief most swiftly cuts the air,
And doth to every diffrent court repair;
Her high behests hes proud thus to perform,
And help the gathring of the coming storm.
WITH one consent the summons they obey,
To Junos privy-chamber shape their way,
Where nectar flows in rosy-circled bowls,
T invigorate their bloods, and fire their souls;
Nectar, poetic lofty Name, perchance
Tis what we mortals here below call Nantz [French wine];
After the due libations were pourd out,
They at the portal placd a faithful scout.
SO where Enthusiasm rears her head,
And blind fold sisters holy alleys tread,
To their new Eden, by their Wsty [Winstanley] lead,
When she expounds, confesses or exhorts,
To heaving sighs, or sins, or private sports,
Some trusty matron keeps the awful door,
Nor takes her turn till all the form is oer.
End of the First Canto.
SOON as the featherd messenger of Jove
Had done what all the goddesses approve;
Wisely reflecting on the ills to come,
And dreading to mankind some fatal doom,
He wisely ruminates within his breast
What scheme to form, how to detect em best,
For sure, quoth Hermes, well I know the sex,
And such a congress must een Jove perplex;
Two women seldom meet but ills ensue,
From Twelve we must expect some plague thats new.
AWAY he flies to where the Gods in bowrs
Quaff and repose themselves on beds of flowrs:
With each his Catamite O! frothy joy,
Which in the action doth it self destroy.
WHEN Hermes thus: Immortals rouse, attend,
Or let your empire oer the females end,
No more at your command stretchd out theyll lie,
Heave the fond sigh, and roll the wanton eye;
What is the main design Im yet to know,
But pleasure is the plan on which they go;
O think betimes, that whilst yere toying here,
With boys, oerthrowing love in its career,
O! my prophetic soul! they may invent
Some secret way to give themselves content.
HIS message plays unheeded round their ears,
Dissolvd in luxury, they laugh at fears;
And vainly fancy they shall still retain
The privilege, both ports at will to gain.
Hermes disgusted, in a rage withdrew,
And to the conclave door in silence flew;
Amazd he stood, firm as his statue fixd,
To see with Goddesses plain mortals mixd
But twas deceit, a cunning quaint disguise,
To screen their persons from discerning eyes,
Cœlestial dazzling brightness laid aside,
They came in loose array and human pride,
From British beauties that enchant the soul,
The grace, the stature, shape, and form they stole.
Juno herself, with features stern and strong,
High nose, thin lips, and chin acute and long,
Whilst spread about some bristly hairs apper,
Such as when yonkers their first Offrings shear;
Her dress was female, but her manly step
Seemd as shed wrestle, throw the bar, or leap;
From Crtr these she borrowd, lusty maid,
Who makes the H-ckn-y [Hackney] husbands all afraid,
For neither science comes to her amiss,
The spouse shell bully, and the wife shell kiss.
FAIR Cytherea next advancing slow,
To the assembly makes a graceful bow;
Her braided locks with ribbands interwove,
To wanton in the breezes vainly strove;
A thin transparent mantle lightly prest
With purple hue her gently rising breast;
Her azure zone so carelessly was tyd,
As if it courted what it once denyd;
And wishing to be loose, woud fain reveal
The font of love, which shades embrownd conceal;
But to delude the eye with fond surprize;
The waving robe just shews her ivry thighs;
Thus in a dishabille, best choice of dress,
All in the Goddess lady M confess;
Alike prepard when pleasure beams the eye,
Rapture to give, or in high joy to die;
Ripe with her wrongs, an injurd husbands brow
Markd for revenge her votive tablets shew.
FROM sylvan scenes of hawthorn glens and trees,
The huntress nymph appears bare to the Knees,
Her manlike sinews, hardend by the chace,
Strain, stretch, and crack at thoughts of the embrace;
Yet man she scorns, and whilst she inward burns,
Natures strong current on itself returns.
Diana thus bold Philony appears,
Whose loud tond pack the Hampshire forests fears,
From them retreating to the inmost shade,
Where no bold eyes their privacy invade;
She with her nymphs their lovely limbs unbind
To be all oer kissd by the baudy wind.
Or, laving in the stream, to water give
Th embraces man most gladly woud receive;
In vain they beat the wave, the wave supplies
Fresh warmth, from whence more wanton they arise;
Then stretchd on verdant banks in pairs they lye,
And to posteriors friendly Birch apply;
The gentle titillation swells the veins
Till oozing Ichor leaves some faintish stains:
Imperfect bliss! mere miniature of joy!
Formd to raise longings and high lust destroy.
From noisy cities where the busy throng,
Impetuous roll their loaded carts along
See Vesta turret-crownd, experiencd dame,
Who knew in private to conceal her shame
Prim and demure as any quaking saint,
Who wears no lace nor patch, and rails at paint.
With plain stuff-gown, pinchd coif and slender waist
She seems like B--m--ds daughter blushing chaste.
To her succeeds the goddess of the fields,
Bright Ceres who her bolden harvests hields;
She like a country dame in russet clad
With jocund air that speaks the heart full glad,
In lusty strides the private conclave seeks
And quite abrupt to the assembly breaks.
Her daughter Proserpine behind her creeps,
With skin all tingd by the infernal deeps,
In a Creolian form; her large black eyes
Indicate, nothing can her lust suffice;
The flame that in her vitals burns has draind
The balm of nature, and her visage staind;
Her lips, quite parchd, demand the juicy kiss,
And evry thirsty charm gaps wide for bliss;
As the faint earth cracks out, scorchd and dry,
Begging the moisture of the giving sky:
In this disguise appeard old Plutos bride,
That if by mortal eyes the goddess had been spyd;
None coud the true minute resemblance catch,
But take her for the lady of the Watch.
Mark you fell dame who, tottring in her gait,
Steps solemn on fond to presrve her state,
Cybele hight, the mother of the gods
Who long has reveald in their dark abodes,
A matrons image shrouds her shriveld skin,
With furrowd brows and features lank and thin;
Yet still her palsied hand woud grasp the Chief
That floods her veins and renovates her life;
But long debarrd from that to art she flies,
Whose rising sap with genial juices crownd,
Make her faint spirits from their dotage bound;
Her arid limbs entwind, close suction ply,
And drein the melting porous nymph quite dry;
Who yields her vigour to relieve the crone,
And whilst she gives her vigour taints her own;
So tea and spices tho theyre closely pent
Receive the neighbring filths obnoxious s[c]ent.
Behind her Hebe comes in bloom of youth
Formd for congenial love, soft joys and truth;
Blushing and radiant as the rosy morn,
When heavnly smiles doth natures face adorn,
Arrayd in evry grace to charm mankind,
To clasp the youth in amrous folds inclind:
But, ah! too soon those beauties all will fade:
And lust perfidious fully the bright maid
No jocund bridegroom leaps into her arms,
But the old doatard rifles all her charms,
Till like a dying flowr she pines and droops,
And in mid-age with impotence she stoops;
From her sunk cheeks declines the lively dye,
And faintly rolls the heavy languid eye.
With lustful shell-fish crownd, from th green deep
The sea-born Naiads climb the azure steep,
From various quarters a strange group appears,
Some warm in youth, some trembling with their years,
All rush like nature to the common flame;
All prone to venery, defying shame.
To close the scene, quite ripe for amrous sport
The Lesbian, tho no goddess, fills the court:
Mans solid bliss she to the full had tryd,
Nor to the other sex her aid denied;
Awful she rushes in and claims a part
To add new vigour to the blunted dart;
Amazd the conclave sate, her threatning front
Carryd dismay and isolence upont:
For Phaon still she sighd, a tender boy,
Who spurnd her hostile love and warrior joy;
For nature in exuberance of lust,
Her parts had formd adapt to either gust:
The wide receiver, most capacious space!
With ease the largest Chieftan coud embrace,
And when the trembling damsel lay supine
To seeming virile force she coud incline,
Nature benevolent thrust forth elate
The part that forms to bliss, or goads to hate.
Hence evry Hero, on her bosom fell
And how she tickled girls they best can tell.
Forgive this rude intrusion now she cries,
Ripe to redress our sexes wrongs I rise:
A nobler way remains in natures womb
To fix our joys eternally to come.
Attend whilst I relate the diffrent ways,
That each to ease her stinging pains essays:
For not a Hippomania can more fierce,
Than womans wants the very vitals pierce.
How some with animals their lusts retain,
Whose supple tongues the saline juices drein:
Hence mark the shock whose ears the carpet sweep
On couch or velvet cushion wont to sleep;
Whose gloatng eyes the females all survey,
Prompt on their beds or in their laps to play;
As most the nimble feet he strains his throat:
And wantons underneath the petticoat.
Or if the hand he licks tis proof most strong,
Each morn a nobler office claims his tongue:
Others like fair Bodena, when the down,
Of love adorns the nether copple crown,
To view the image that affords delight;
Steals from her fathers lodge conceald by night,
And gives the son of Mars a pilferd crown,
To have the Chief, erect, in triumph shewn;
Or mounting on the leads beneath surveys,
Where silver Thames in soft meanders strays,
And there with eager eyes she courses oer,
The bathing youths that wanton near the shore;
Fondly she sees the bold Priapus lave,
Untamd by rigour of the rolling wave;
The lofty ensign fans her glowing fires,
And lustful pug must quence her lewd desires.
Or need I tell when Mays sweet breath invites,
To early pleasures, rural calm delights
How the bright nymphs more blooming than the day
Mounts her fleet steed in virid [?vivid] loose array,
The happy pummels wantonly arise,
And by the motion triturate [grind] her T-----s [thighs],
The gentle Friction mimic joys produce,
And softly oozes the superfluous juice.
Twoud tire the muse to mention all the toys,
With which they imitate substantial joys,
In Britains isle a queen most highly famd.
Contrivd an easy chair where in full pride,
Shed mount aloft and quite triumphant ride:
Secret she kept it long, but prying eyes,
Of priesthood soon the mimic cheat descries,
From Italy the poisnous drug they chuse,
And oer the arms its baneful drops infuse,
The chandlers art oft feeds a double flame,
First light to bed and then her lust doth tame,
Warmd by the prurient hot corroding place,
The frequent motion working on apace;
Soon as the coming joy with her is felt,
The giving candle condescends to melt.
From these mean arts afford them some relief
Oh mitigate their pain and hush their grief;
A train of girls your nod all suppliant wait,
Expecting you to fix their future Fate;
And humbly beg some method youd invent
To wound their foes and give themselves content.
My poor endeavours shall support the claim,
Love is my life, and love is all my aim;
Mans rough, ingrateful sex henceforth I scorn,
May all, like me, their cold embraces spurn;
Woman to womans breast can best supply
The stream of love, when once the pulse beats high.
Come then, ye virgins of the tender make,
Of unfelt joys and circling bliss partake.
THUS Sappho spoke, and at the grateful close,
A pleasing murmur thro th assembly rose,
Mild as when oer the rill, or thro the trees,
In whispers gently swells the vernal breeze,
They smild assent, and from her starry throne,
Great Juno thus her sentiments made known:
Cœlestial sisters! arbiters of fate!
Know from my soul sincerely man I hate;
No more the scrubbing of a rustic kiss
Shall rough my face, rude antidote to bliss.
Freedom to all is given; your schemes propose;
At liberty your secret thoughts disclose;
Say, who the noblest science can improve,
With arts unknown to dull, mechanic love;
Let homely wives plod on in one slow track,
And take what nature gives, upon their back;
Unpractisd in the skill to vary joy,
By one continual tenderness they cloy;
Bet yours to bound, to leap, your limbs to spread,
And wanton lewdly on the genial bed;
Satiate with man all natures stock explore,
And pluck assistance from her endless store,.
Begin; who first our infant hopes can rear,
Shall in a full assembly transport share.
WHEN Ceres thus: Tis mine to till the ground,
Where vegetables of all sorts abound,
Nor think alone by food they man sustain,
The food of man shall ease the females pain:
For this the carrot rears its verdant head,
Hiding its sandy root in Telluss bed;
Thence too, close clinging to its native earth,
The friendly parsnip is dug up to birth;
These when some tender hand has washd them clean,
Ye all are well acquainted what they mean;
What need we more? If man will poorly swerve
From natures rules, for us let carrots serve.
WITH indignation fird and redning eye,
The Goddess Queen this practice doth defy:
Born of the earth, she cries, from dirt you seek
Feeble employment, and a tool most weak.
Let country dames void of politer taste,
On roots, or any thing thus break their fast;
We study to improve the active sport,
And find diversion for the Belles at C--rt [Court];
Man we despise but in our better Plan
Let us in miniature out-ape the man.
SEE from the bath the supple eunuch rise,
The loss of substance better sound supplies;
Deprivd of balmy juice in virile pride,
He fears not the most tempting to bestride;
All night he labours at the luscious joy,
Nor can the coming morn his bliss destroy;
Better with him luxuriant give the flow,
Than water plants inanimate to grow.
If that you seek, young Ganimede attends,
Whence comes no danger, for no showr descends;
One Road he keeps, one constant track pursues,
To him no pleasure, you, no pain accrues.
MODEST in decent pride young Hebe rose,
And thus: A virgin may her thoughts disclose;
Oft with the tempting boy Ive loosely playd,
And oer his limbs my wanton hands have strayd,
Whilst he in free indulgence hath confest,
Jove in another mode hath love exprest.
Beware then, ladies, how ye here engage,
Nor trust the Ganimedes of this vile age;
Who trust the men their secrets to explore,
Will yours disclose when once the conflicts oer.
The maidens caution gladly all approve,
And join to form some other shape of love;
Italian mimickry they all despise,
Some new invention must bear off the prize.
End of the Second Canto.
STILL on, Pierian nuymph, the theme pursue,
Undraw the veil and bring it all to view,
Fly round the toilette and the couch display;
Illicit love the darling theft betray:
Nor longer nice the sportive girl disguise,
When she in secret the gay engine tries.
WHEN Hebe ceasd, alert, with manly air,
Sappho arose from off her ivry chair,
Beneath her robe the sacred prize she held,
Whose large protubrance was but ill conceald.
CEASE, cease she cries, your needless search suspend,
Well versd in love, let me the conflict end;
A curious artist that thro nature pryd,
Has evry wish our hearts could form supplyd;
He gives us man without the plague of males,
Which will untired remain when nature fails;
The conscious blush must rise wheneer I think
What arts we use when drooping standards sink;
In vain the lily hand with genial fire
Strives with fresh heat the mortals to inspire;
When round their limbs robust we gently twine,
And fondly hope to make the centers join;
Repugnant to our joys, the Ruler, dead,
Hangs like a fading flowr its livid head;
Nor can our heaving breasts new strength excite,
The darting tongue no longer can invite;
When we to rushing joy go boldly on,
Supine and indolent they tumble down;
Baulkd in our bliss, we to reproaches fly,
And noise and tumult for kind signs supply;
No more we clasp him in our tender arms,
No more his colder breast our bosom warms;
Who then such frail felicity woud trust,
Or value those imperfect efforts most;
When solid joys are always at command,
And court the pressure of your eager hand?
For this the burnishd ivry rears its head,
Waiting for coral of a lovely red;
Or if too rude the polishd engine seems,
The velvet covring keeps it from extremes;
Its shape compleat, nor can ye aught despise,
For to your choice they shall adapt the size.
SHE said, and with a more majestic Mien
Producd at once the wonderful Machine.
Not more the Greeks rejoicd when Iliums Fate,
Which on its stoln Palladium did await,
The sly Ulysses cautiously drew out
And charmd the wondring chiefs and vulgar rout.
WITH rapture all beheld it, and applause
In Ios loud, the silent image draws.
Immediate trial is the next demand,
The trial claims a gently trembling hand;
Kind Sappho soon administers her aid,
And drives the dart into the yielding maid.
Fond of the scheme they strive timprove its use,
And each will the most pleasing method chuse.
FOND to expose her leg the huntress-queen
Close to her buskin fixes the machine;
With limbs expanded moves the nimble heel,
And feeds the part which most she should conceal.
OF this ye nymp[h]s beware, for thus you shew
A secret none but true adepts should know:
A solid matron once in art well versd,
Who to her pupils all the modes rehearsd;
And when they purchasd these relieving charms,
Taught them their tactics, and to use their arms,
In this encounter was by fraud betrayd,
And to a man the dangrous rite displayd.
Young Clody with a tender, beardless chin,
Prompt to discover all the paths of sin,
Vowd he their secret mystries woud unfold,
And sate revenge upon a prude grown cold.
So lucky was he in the amrous chace,
The nymphs all yielded to his warm embrace;
Till saint-like Mira, most affected proud,
Virtue and hate of man proclaimd aloud.
The youth well knew that virtue was a name,
A fantom formd by female dread of shame;
And that some stronger powr must there resort,
Or nature quickly woud give up the fort;
Oft had he seen her fly in haste from home,
In dishabille, and tracd her to the dome,
Where, afterwards, the found the craving lass,
Might suit her wants with heroes of each class.
READY invention fires his glowing thought,
With lust and indignation fully fraught.
Soon he resolves the doubtful scene to try,
And by disguise deceive the matrons eye;
The plaited cap adorns his blushing face,
And gives his features evre female grace;
The handkerchief conceals his flattend breast,
And a large robe de chambre hides the rest;
He seems a nymph compleat, and by address,
Finds out the means his passion to express.
Sybilla, unsuspecting the deceit,
Gladly embraces the dissembling cheat;
Exhibits to his view the gaudy store,
And gives him all instructions in her power;
Shews him how for the use tis made most fit,
When to withdraw, and when the mark to hit.
Pleasd with the luscious scene, joy turnd to pain,
Nor coud he bounded natures force restrain;
Better to rein the steed in mid career
Than stop those swelling signs that will appear,
Bursting from close confinement, rousing up,
Th imprisond hero breaks the buttond shop:
On one side gapes Avernus with a fringe,
Which Cerberus on tother stands to singe:
Weary of art, when nature thus invites,
Who can withstand the force of stoln delights?
To quit the conflict, he accosts the dame,
And quences in her slough the red-hot flame;
Conquerd, by double joys tird and oercome,
She lies a victim to the tartars doom,
Obedient to his will, complies with all,
In the same garb to lust must Mira fall;
Th effect at full quite answerd the design,
And the coy girl her virtue did resign:
Quite harmless friskd she, not of man afraid,
Thinking she with another woman playd.
BE heedful then; in private hide your joys,
Nor be the sport of gadding beardless boys:
Search well the sex, the stature and the age,
Be sure before you venture to engage.
SOON as the Lesbian had, with triumph crownd,
And nimble fingers servd th assembly round,
Each gave her sentiments, and firmly strove
The young adventrer in each shape timprove.
LOVEs Goddess from her taper waist alone,
Bestows the beauty-giving azure zone;
Whilst round the female hips that gift is felt,
At distance falls the new-invented belt,
Proud of its better place, the hero struts,
And on the rolling air of manhood puts;
Now strikes the ivry belly with its head,
And now bent down upon the thigh is spread:
But when to action calld, fierce in the front
He points his mark prepard to face the brunt.
STILL there remains another nice affray,
Moisture alone can flaming fire allay;
And what the turgid veins with rapture fills,
Is love descending in soft trickling rills;
When every pore its genial balm collects,
And thro one pipe the flowing stream ejects.
To gain this point their skill is at a stand,
Then engine drops and shrinks the tender hand,
Till fair Minerva, patroness of arts,
The best improvements to the fair imparts,
A spring she adds, whose property is such,
That the middle fingers single touch,
Thro a small tube is instantly conveyd,
Warm nature to the essence-yielding maid,
Which drawn from dugs distended kindly gives
Lacteal juice to widows, girls or wives.
THUS finishd and complete, it long had servd,
Cœlestial nymphs, and chastity preservd.
In time our earthly ladies found its use,
Unwilling the least moments prime to lose.
In China first the supple thing took birth,
And after tea, afforded them new mirth;
Confucious there philosophy first taught,
And thence this cargo was to Europe brought,
Fathers of all may well their annals boast,
The seasons and inventions we have lost;
Lust to supply, and luxury to add,
These are thy great advantages, O! trade!
SOON Spaniards and Italians make it known,
And privately adopt it as their own.
The French, that ever amrous, dancing crew,
With vigour to its cold embraces flew,
And claimd their darling of its succour vain,
Till Britain felt a Stuarts happy reign;
Returning Charles this blessing brought and more,
To fill the magazine of lechrys store.
These all the ladies of his court enjoyd,
Tho for disguise a hogshead were destroyd;
Of this facetious Butler loudly sings,
Best poet to the baudiest of kgs [kings].
OH! could I trace the dear succession down,
How it the country raisd, and spread the town,
As outside nervous should my verses prove,
Yet softer than the milk-distilling love.
LIKE sects, opposd, the stronger root it took,
And soon the chief of women men forsook;
They change their habits, alter evry air,
And see in Josephs puny miss appear;
The bold virago mankind seems to ape,
And for that purpose varies evry shape;
The hielding girl to gentler postures turns,
And gives to woman what to man she scorns.
THE diffrent symptoms take: the female rake,
The cock of hat and furzy wig bespeak;
She rides her trotting nag aside tis true;
But ye pale-looking nymphs how rides she you?
Full flushd, and of the Amazonian kind,
She dreads no storms, nor fears the rougher wind;
All morn most brisklky she pursues the chace,
Then on your couch imprints the lewd embrace.
WITH languid eyes, and feeble, trembling pulse,
That baffles all the skill of Slne or Hse,
For ever lazy, and for ever dull,
Craving eternally, yet never full;
Stretchd on a couch, or lolling in a chair,
The indigent receiver doth appear.
The sport a-while may sickning life sustain,
But soon tis oer, and endless is the pain.
WOUD ye, young girls, who glow with health and love,
The blissful minutes of your lives improve,
Neer throw the balm of luscious love away,
And voluntary dwindle to decay;
New bathe a stupid tool, when the same joys,
May bring ye pretty girls and chattring boys;
Rather avow your love, confess your flame,
And nature boldly own, devoid of shame.
Let he mean herd, the shaggy, pallid crew,
Their forcd, their made-up bliss at home pursue;
Woman was made for man, so nature meant,
And evry fibre answers the intent;
Who sins against its the creation wrong,
Must rank with beasts, nor to mankind belongs.
BY sad experience taught, I dying speak,
If my former wicked vows should break,
Forgive me, saints of Hckney [Hackney], with regret
I think of the false transports I have met;
O! let the fair who thus have lost their bloom,
May yet have years of pregnancy to come,
Some nobler method seek; see where the sacred fane
Stands wide their private births to entertain;
Better to fix the growing substance there,
Than let their children all expand in air:
Tho prudes will censure and old maidens talk,
Neer screen your bliss, nor flowing transports baulk,
Spite of all shame, stile one Young Cupids Grove,
And this dull practice, the Dark Grave of Love.
F I N I S.
BOTH PORTS: both the vagina and the anus, i.e. both women and boys.
BUTLER: Samuel Butler (161280), who whose poem Dildoides. A Burlesque Poem was published in 1706, but related to an incident in 1672 when a large cask of dildoes was burned as part of Parliaments prohibition on French goods. Butlers more famous satirical poem was Hudibras.
CLODIUS: Publius Clodius Pulcher, a Roman politician and Tribune, who secretly joined the rites of Bona Dea by disguising himself as a woman, in an attempt to seduce Pompeia, wife of Caesar, resulting in a great scandal.
Crtr: This might be the name of a notorious female aristocrat, or it might just be Courtier.
ENTHUSIASM: Quakers, Methodists, Anabaptists and other Christian dissenters were characterised as religious fanatics.
GNIDOS: Greek city with a famous status of Venus.
HACKNEY: A Hackney coach is a coach for hire, hence commonplace; but it might refer to the actual district of London, Hackney, which was notorious for common prostitutes.
HER PARTS: The suggestion is that Sappho had an enlarged clitoris which she used as a penis, and she was therefore in some sense a hermaphrodite this is part of the characterisation of lesbians as tribades.
HIPPOMANIA: A passion for horses.
ICHOR: Ethereal fluid that flows in the veins of the gods.
JACONITISM: Presumably a misprint for Jacobitism, the political movement to restore the deposed Stuart king James II/VII to the throne. The Jacobite rebellion was crushed at the Battle Culloden in April 1746.
LADY M: Perhaps Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (16891762), noted for her exotic travels, and sometimes rumoured to be a lesbian. She separated from her husband in 1739.
LIVIA: Wife of the Roman Emperor Augustus.
MIRA: This is almost certainly the same person attacked as Myra in William Kings The Toast, i.e. the Countess of Newburgh (Lady Frances Brudenell).
OVID translation: Neither Pyrrhian nor Methymnian maidens nor the rest of the throng of Lesbian girls delight me; naught is Anactoria, naught is the dazzling Cydro to me; Atthis is not pleasing to mine eyes as ere; nor the other hundred, whom I loved not without reproach (Ovid, Epistlae, xv. 1519; Sappho speaking to Phaon).
PAPHIAN: The city of Paphos in Cyprus was sacred to Aphrodite, goddess of love.
PERUVIAN MINES Gold and silver were mined in Peru, land of the fabled city of El Dorado.
Slne or Hse Sir Hans Sloane, physician to the court of queen Anne, George I and George II; Sir Edward Hulse, well known London physician.
WINSTANLEY: Gerard Winstanley, late seventeenth-century visionary religious reformer and founder of the Diggers, agrarian communists.
YONKERS: Youths, whose first facial hair has just appeared.
CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "The Sappho-An, c.1735 or 1749," Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook. 26 August 2017 <http://www.rictornorton.co.uk/eighteen/sapphoan.htm>.