The Posture

By Lucretius 94–49 Lucretius

Translated By John Dryden

Of like importance is the posture too,
In which the genial feat of Love we do:
For as the females of the four foot kind,
Receive the leapings of their Males behind;
So the good Wives, with loins uplifted high,
And leaning on their hands the fruitful stroke may try:
For in that posture will they best conceive:
Not when supinely laid they frisk and heave;
For active motions only break the blow,
And more of Strumpets than of Wives they show;
When answering stroke with stroke, the mingled liquors flow.
Endearments eager, and too brisk a bound,
Throws off the Plow-share from the furrow’d ground.
But common Harlots in conjunction heave,
Because ’tis less their business to conceive
Than to delight, and to provoke the deed;
A trick which honest Wives but little need.

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Poet Lucretius 94–49

Subjects Relationships, Love, Men & Women, Nature, The Body


"When a single day brings the world to destruction, only then will the poetry of the sublime Lucretius pass away." This judgment by the Roman poet Ovid , written in the generation after Lucretius's death, has been echoed by such writers as Voltaire and George Santayana; the author of De rerum natura (On the Nature of Things) holds a place in world literature as one of the great philosopher-poets. Of the life of Titus Lucretius . . .

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Poems by Lucretius

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SUBJECT Relationships, Love, Men & Women, Nature, The Body

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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