“Back View of Bather,” Francesco Hayez, 1859, WikiArt.

Etruscan bath, clear waters, mosaic tiles,
Escaping sordid smells of life, entire
Room, husband-designed, walk-in pool,
Wide ledge each side flanked, turning,
Secret alcove, illuminated by single barred
Widow, too small for night suitors, male
Or Female, except arm, or if hoisted
Upon stone sill, entire length of leg, no
More. Such was young woman, name
Unknown, greeting me from outside,
Bright-eyed Athene, my heart ensnared,
“Your name?” I asked, she withdrew from
My kisses upon perfume-sweet hands and
Arms, turning on ankles goddess-slender,
Backwards glanced, golden arrows my
Heart struck. “Please, your name, house,
Swift-horse messengers I can send.”

O! My heart impaled by such grievous
Arrow shafts, what if my husband knew,
Or is this dark-haired, olive-skin young
Woman of his devious employ? Straining
Neck, another look, she has by winding
Course, outer walls disappeared. Sweet
Scent, blossoming flowers, arms and legs
Entangling vines, sweet grapes awaiting
Beyond reach, dizzying dreams tasting
Honeyed-wine, manservant searching for
Her, handmaiden for my private bathing
Needs. Alas! My days were restless, nights
Sleepless, food tasteless, passing hours in
Bath to no avail, veiled faces passing, each
Unanswered prayers. My husband, I no
Longer wanted, his sausage and two eggs
More nuisance than fulfilling dark desires.

“The Veil,” William-Adolphe Bouguereau, 1898, WikiArt.

Alas! Manservant approached, “My lady,
Her name is Kythera, seeking your employ.”
Hearing this, pulses quickened, my heart
Wings-sprouted. Her presentation within
My house, I felt compelled to bow, kiss her
Feet, yet distant, detached game we played,
Such formalities, gentle touches, glancing
Eyes. Rose petals water-floating, imported
Oils from afar, incense burning, earthly
Odors kept at bay, private bath embracing,
Light of small window, Kythera in my arms,
Love’s mysteries between two women reveled
And revealed. Chanting prayers heard all
Around me, forced sips of pungent tea,
Temple frankincense nose-burning, eyes
Blinking, by healers’ magic spells awakened,
All yearned for, deliriums in fevered dreams.

As one might expect , aromas and smells in the ancient world varied
considerably, causing daily needs for scented oils and perfumes. 
Thanks for reading this aromatic poem. 

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