Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

It seems a silly thing, an object rather
For study by the great pathologists,
That anyone should live in fear of Eros;
But just think how their names have swelled to lists:

The god who chased a woman to a tree;
The Moor who crushed the breath within his love;
That queen ensconced within a strange device
To feel the bullish loins thrust from above.

They cast themselves away, the cheerful ones,
One weird and flush-faced night too far from home,
Waking to find the sheets a twisted mess,
As if they were Petronius in Rome.

Fear him, yes, you should fear him on your life,
That red-cheeked child who never shows his face,
Who idles on your path with lurid eye
And leads you, wild, into a desolate place.

—James Matthew Wilson

Image by Birmingham Museum Trust via Creative Commons. Image cropped. 

Dear Reader,

Your charitable support for First Things is urgently needed before July 1.

First Things is a proudly reader-supported enterprise. The gifts of readers like you— often of $50, $100, or $250—make articles like the one you just read possible.

This Spring Campaign—one of our two annual reader giving drives—comes at a pivotal season for America and the church. With your support, many more people will turn to First Things for thoughtful religious perspectives on pressing issues of politics, culture, and public life.

All thanks to you. Will you answer the call?

Make My Gift