Rhyme-Prose on the Marriage of Man and Woman

Most virile of beings—man;
Gentlest creature—woman:
Their love and affection will find a way to mingle,
No matter how parents may prohibit and protect.
First he solicits the matchmaker,
Skilled in all the art a glib tongue can command,
Then plies her with Japanese poems,
Bit by bit tangling the strings of her heart.
He seeks a glimpse of her face, so hard to see,
Listens for a voice as yet unheard.
As his yearning grows more fervid, he smiles in secret;
As the talks grow more intimate, he feels his heart break.
“Like the jeweled tree in my garden,
Like the faithful pine,” he gestures, “I vow to flourish!
Like the felicitous herbs in my room,
Like the golden orchid,” he points, “I promise to be pure!”
And now bodies grow subtly mild,
Their wills little by little aroused,
She dwelling in loveliness,
In charms a match for Ono no Komachi,
He speaking with a quiet elegance
That would shame Ariwara no Narihira.
Their longings begin to race forth wildly;
True passion now is born.
Her form resplendent, replete with all beauty,
Her posture tall and stately, with power to topple cities;
She dyes her crimson sleeve in a hundred scents
Till he has fallen slave to their fragrance;
Wraps her white fingers tight about his hand
And already he is lost in mazes of emotion.
A woman values her chastity,
The completion that comes with the marriage rite;
But when they've vowed to be true for a thousand years,
She finds joy in the first night's union.
When the dew of dawn gathers,
It wets her fresh new garments;
Where night's pale moonlight falls,
It lights her soft shining form.
Her eyebrows painted in willows of Wei,
Lips touched with rouge of Yen,
Where once she hung silk curtains about her,
Bashful lest even her kin catch a glimpse,
Now she turns the gauze lamp to the wall
And suddenly snuggles up to a stranger.
What at first she only endures
Later becomes most familiar.
Unbinding the sash of her single robe,
Knowing she cannot tie it again,
Baring flesh white as snow,
Forgetting for once to be ashamed:
“He's the one I'm to be buried with,
The mate I will share through all my life!”
When the form is lovely, love will be deep,
When passion penetrates, the body will grow full:
Not the union of husband and wife alone that counts,
But the thought of sons and grandsons to rely upon!
He broaches the gate where moisture abounds,
And fluids overflow to stain their undergarments;
They look about, but there's no one at the door:
Moans grow louder, impossible to still.
Love's raptures are hard to forbear—
Who among us is a saint or sage?
The mutual response of yin and yang,
This is the Creator's natural way.
And when hearts have subsided and rest in stillness,
They linger by Peachflower Paradise banks, forgetting to return;
After juices have freely flowed,
They lie wrapped in dreams of a Heaven of Perfect Peace.
But thoughts once roused know no end,
And longings may leave one sleepless and distraught;
Should widows and young boys hear of such things,
None but would be stirred to desire!
Author of original: 
Oe No Asatsuna
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