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16th century erotic poetry discovered

Found in a West Virginia library inside a 1561 copy of Chaucer was a 450 year old erotic love poem from a Catholic woman named Lady Elizabeth Dacre wrote an erotic (at least for the time) love poem in Latin to a Protestant man Sir Anthony Cooke who happened to be the tutor to King Edward VI.

If a 16th century trist between a Catholic and a Protestant wasn’t saucy enough consider the language used in the opening lines of the poem itself (translated from Latin):

“The goodbye I tried to speak but could not utter with my tongue
by my eyes I delivered back to yours.
That sad love that haunts the countenance in parting
contained the voice that I concealed from display,
just as Penelope, when her husband Ulysses was present,
was speechless – the reason is that sweet love of a gaze …”

and the ending is even more racy: “Long enough am I now; but if your shape should swell under its grateful burden, then shall I become to you a narrow girdle”…. that’s enough to make even Chaucer blush. Or maybe not that guy was filthy. But either way it’s quite a find.

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