“And I…that sucked the honey of his music vows.” –Ophelia, Hamlet
A little poetry, or a line or two from a classic play or novel, can go a long way toward sealing the deal. And don’t trust the snicker, or the muted chortle you might get in response: if you deliver it right and time it right, your guest or partner will read it as the act of a closer, and a closer is confident, impressive, skilled, and knows his or her strengths.
Knowledge of the western canon isn’t required to introduce knowledge of your western cannon. Skimming through the works of some of the usual suspects, readily available at bookstores, thrift stores, and for free online, will do. Following are some samples that can be easily memorized and delivered. Or you can pick up a volume or two and leave them out on the coffee table, right on top of your signed first edition of “101 Fart Jokes.”
We’ll get through Shakespeare first. There’s not much hot in “Macbeth,” really, but “Romeo and Juliet” is a goldmine and “Hamlet” is infinitely poetic. The comedies abound with sexual references, but they’re not really in the right mood. Here are a three from “Romeo and Juliet:”
“Oh, she doth teach the torches to burn bright. It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night like a rich jewel…”
“Oh, that I were a glove upon that hand that I might touch that cheek.”
“Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon, who is already sick and pale with grief that thou, her maid, art far more fair than she…”
“Hamlet” is rich with innuendo, double-entendres, and wordplay. But most of it shares an agenda other than seduction, or romance. In the following quote, the prince is recalling his mother’s lust for his father, the king:
“She would hang on him, as if increase of appetite had grown by what it fed on.”
For your amusement, scan through “Hamlet” for the references to country matters, maiden’s legs, and dalliances at the “waist” of fortune.
“I think Joyce is pretty hot, too,” Back to School with Rodney Dangerfield
One of the hottest passages in all of literature is near the end of James Joyce’s modernist landmark “Ulysses.” You probably have better things and people to do than memorize all of this passage, but you can pick out the bit that will work for you. The punctuation and spelling here are Joyce’s choices.
“O and the sea the sea crimson sometimes like fire and the glorious sunsets and the figtrees in the Alameda gardens yes and all the queer little streets and the pink and blue and yellow houses and the rosegardens and the jessamine and geraniums and cactuses and Gibraltar as a girl where I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.”
This quote from Oscar Wilde’s “The Picture of Dorian Gray” has very obvious uses:
“The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it.”
We don’t know why you ever would, but don’t quote Vladimir Nabokov’s “Lolita” to a minor. Still, this quote is a romantic way to get closer to someone special. Who is barely legal or better.
“It was love at first sight, at last sight, at ever and ever sight.”
They were too rich with examples for us to choose just one, but we highly recommend scouring also the works of D.H. Lawrence, Henry Miller, Anais Nin, Lawrence Durrell, and others for more great seductive quotes, tailored to your needs.
We saved the best for last, because ideally it’s poetry you want to be using. It’s kind of like a college freshman: it’s designed for oral performance. There’s tons and tons of it, and it’s easy to commit a little bit to memory.
Pablo Neruda was made for this list. His “Twenty Love Songs and A Song of Despair” made him an unlikely sex symbol in his native Chile. The following line is from that work:
“I want to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.”
Lord George Gordon Byron managed to be the first tabloid celebrity at a time before tabloids, the internet, or cable news. He was the model for Don Juan, the Byronic Hero of his works: a jaded, world-weary casanova who found himself regularly in situations like this one:
“A little she strove, and much repented; and whispering ‘I will never consent, consented.”
One of the most romantic Romantic poets was John Keats. Memorize this verse from his poem “Bright Star” and keep it up your sleeve:
“Pillowed upon my fair love’s ripening breast/to feel forever its soft fall and swell,
Awake forever in a sweet unrest/still, still to hear her tender-taken breath
And so love ever–or else swoon in death.”
John Donne was the best known of the metaphysical poets. Here’s a good one for when things are getting metaphysical, from his poem called “To His Mistress Going to Bed:”
“Licence my roving hands, and let them go,
Before, behind, between, above, below.”
Among the more modern poets, there’s lots hot in the work of E.E. Cummings. Especially this one, poem “xvii:”
“Lady, i will touch you with my mind.
Touch you and touch and touch
until you give
me suddenly a smile, shyly obscene
(lady i will
touch you with my mind.) Touch
you, that is all,
lightly and you utterly will become
with infinite ease
the poem which i do not write.”
Wiiliam Carlos Williams has this one, called “Arrival,” for a very particular moment during your evening:
“And yet one arrives somehow,
finds himself loosening the hooks of
in a strange bedroom —
feels the autumn
dropping its silk and linen leaves
about her ankles.”
These lines, and these writers, are a good place to start. But there’s a treasure trove of seductive, romantic, and downright dirty material among the classics of world literature. It won’t take you much effort to find the lines that work for you. For extra credit, you can memorize literally all of the bible’s “Song of Songs.” It’s all pretty hot. This is from 7:7:
“Your stature is like that of the palm, and your breasts like clusters of fruit. I will climb the palm tree, I will take hold of its fruit. May your breasts be like clusters of grapes on the vine, the fragrance of your breath like apples, and your mouth like the best wine.”
If King Solomon could use poetry to get laid, you can, too.