‘The Choise of Valentines, or The Merie Ballad of Nash His Dildo’ by Thomas Nashe

A nice counterpoint to the Greenwell, what we have here is a classic boy-meets-girl, boy-goes-to-visit-girl-in-the-brothel-where-she-works, boy-ruins-the-moment-by-coming-too-soon-and-girl-ends-up-using-a-dildo story. I first encountered this long-suppressed Elizabethan erotic poem at university, and a few years later, I read it live on stage in Belfast while being interviewed in a ten-foot bed. Nashe’s poem is as filthy as it sounds, and still very funny. What’s not to love?

Written around 1593, first published privately in 1899. Collected in The Unfortunate Traveller and Other Works Penguin Classics. Available online at Project Gutenberg