Cydalise, ou le péche dans le miroir (Cydalise, or Fishing in the Mirror) is a sequence of thirty explicitly erotic short poems by Pierre Louÿs, found in his manuscripts after his death. The collection is named after the first of the verses. This is the first time they appeared in print, together with eight engravings by the mysterious T. Mertens.

Here is the title poem to provide a flavour:


‘Cydalise, êtes-vous malade?
— Ah! mon cher, ne m’en parlez pas!
La fouterie et l’enculade
En une nuit m’ont mise à bas.’

‘Sous promesse de fortes sommes,
J’ai bien voulu faire l’amour
Toute nue avec vingt-quatre hommes
Qui se relayaient tour à tour.

Du soir jusqu’à l’aube première
J’ai tiré quatre-vingt-six coups
Dont trente et un dans le derrière
Et j’ai bien mal à mes deux trous.

J'ai déchargé pendant quatre heures,
A la fin je n’en pouvais plus,
Les joyeusetés les meilleures
N’ont-elles pas leurs superflus?’


‘Cydalise, are you unwell?
– Ah! my dear, don't tell me!
The fucking and the sodomy
Have finally got to you.’

‘With the promise of large sums,
I was willing to make love
Naked with twenty-four men
Who each took their turn.

From evening until dawn
I was taken eighty-six times,
Including thirty-one in the arse.
Now both holes hurt a lot.

I discharged for four hours,
In the end I couldn’t take it any more,
Even the best treats
Have their disadvantages.’

Cydalise was printed in Dijon, at the Imprimerie Darantière, in a limited numbered edition of 700 copies.

We are grateful to Steve Mullins of the Olympia Press website ( for these illustrations.