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To Priapus

Cum sacrum fieret deo salaci,
conducta est pretio puella parvo
communis satis omnibus futura,
quae quot nocte viros peregit una,
tot verpas tibi dedicat salignas.

At holy offering to the Lustful God
Hired was a harlot for a slender price
To meet the common wants of commonweal;
And for as many men one night outworked
So many willow yards she'll give to thee.

At a sacrifice made to the God of Lechery, a girl was cheaply hired as sufficient for the wants of the common weal, who as many men she spent in a single night, dedicates to thee so many willow-wood pokers.[1]

[1. In the original Latin verpa, meaning the virile member. So called from its similarity in shape to the instrument used in scouring furnace fires. The damsel laid on the altar of Priapus, as ex-votos, a quantity of wooden members equal in number to the men with whom she had had connection in a single night. This seems to have been a customary practice amongst the lower classes of women.

Juvenal relates how the Empress Messalina was accustomed in disguise to visit a brothel at night, and borrowing her cell from Lycisca, one of the courtesans, to show such capability for the work that she exhausted all who cared to visit her, and returned to the palace in the early morning, still raging with unsatisfied lust. It is said that within twenty hours she surpassed the above-named courtesan by twenty-five 'rides'.]

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