Johannes Secundus (also Janus Secundus) (November 15, 1511 – September 25, 1536) was a New Latin poet of Dutch nationality.
Secundus was a prolific writer, and in his short life he produced several books of elegies, epigrams, odes, verse epistles and epithalamia, as well as some prose writings (epistles and itineraria).
His most famous work, though, was the Liber Basiorum (Book of Kisses, first complete edition 1541), a short collection consisting of nineteen poems in various metres, in which the poet explores the theme of the kiss.
His poems were later set in Dutch translation as madrigals by Cornelis Tijmensz Padbrué (1631).
Kisses told by Hundreds o’er!
Thousands told by Thousands more!
Millions! countless Millions! then
Told by Millions o’er again!
Countless! as the drops that glide
In the Ocean’s billowy tide,
Countless! as yon orbs of light
Spangled o’er the vault of Night,
I’ll with ceaseless love bestow
On those Cheeks of crimson glow,
On those Lips of gentle swell,
On those Eyes where raptures dwell.
But when circled in thy arms,
As I’m panting o’er thy charms,
O’er thy Cheeks of rosy bloom,
O’er thy lips that breathe perfume,
O’er thine eyes so sweetly-bright,
Shedding soft-expressive light;
Then, nor Cheeks of rosy bloom,
Nor thy lips that breathe perfume,
Nor thine eyes’ expressive light,
Bless thy lover’s envious sight;
Nor that soothing smile, which cheers
All his tender hopes and fears:
For, as radiant Phœbus streams
O’er the globe with placid beams,
Whirling thro’ th’ ætherial way
The fiery-axled car of day,
And from the tempestuous sky,
While the rapid coursers fly,
All the stormy clouds are driv’n,
Which deform’d the face of heav’n;
So, thy golden smile, my fair!
Chases ev’ry am’rous care;
Dries the torrents of mine eyes,
Calms my fond, tumultuous sighs.
Oh! hoe emulous the strife
‘Twixt my Lips and Eyes, sweet Life!
Of thy charms are These possest,
Those are envious till they’re blest:
Think not, then, that, in my love,
I’ll be rivall’d e’en by Jove,
When such jealous conflicts rise
‘Twixt my very Lips and Eyes.
As round some neighbouring elm the vine
Its am’rous tendrils loves to twine;
As round the oak, in many a maze,
The ivy flings its gadding sprays:
Thus! let me to your snowy breast,
My dear Naæra! thus to be prest;
While I as fondly in my arms,
Neæra! clasp thy yielding charms;
And, with one long, long kiss, improve
Our mutual ecstasies of love.
Should Ceres pour her plenteous hoard,
Should Bacchus crown the festive board,
Should balmy Sleep luxurious spread
His downy pinions o’er my head;
Yet not for these my joys I’d break,
For these! thy vermil lips forsake.
At length, when ruthless age denies
A longer bliss, and seals our eyes,
One bark shall waft our spirit’s o’er,
United, to the Stygian shore:
Then, passing thro’ a transient night,
We’ll enter soon those fields of light,
Where, breathing richest odours round,
A spring eternal paints the ground;
Where heroes once in valour prov’d,
And beauteous heroines once belov’d,
Again with mutual passion burn,
Feel all their wonted flames return;
And now in sportive measures tread
The flow’ry carpet of the mead;
Now sing the jocund, tuneful tale
Alternate in the myrtle vale:
Where ceaseless Zephyrs fan the glade,
Soft-murm’ring thro’ the laurel-shade;
Beneath whose waving foliage grow
The vi’let sweet of purple glow,
The daffodil that breathes perfume,
And roses of immortal bloom;
Where Earth her fruits spontaneous yields,
Nor plough-share cuts th’ unfurrow’d fields.
Soon as we enter these abodes
Of happy souls, of demi-gods,
The Blest shall all respectful rise,
And view us with admiring eyes;
Shall seat us ‘mid th’ immortal throng,
Where I, renown’d for tender song,
Shall gain with Homer equal praise,
And share with him poetic bays;
While Thou, enthron’d above the rest,
Wilt shine in beauty’s train confest:
Nor shall the Mistresses of Jove
Such partial honours disapprove;
E’en Helen, tho’ of race divine,
Will to thy charms her rank resign.