Aphra Behn was a prolific dramatist of the English Restoration and was one of the first English professional female writers. Her writing contributed to the amatory fiction genre of British literature.
One of the first English women to earn her livelihood by authorship, Behn's life is difficult to unravel and relate. Information regarding her, especially her early life, is scant, but she was almost certainly born in Wye, near Canterbury, on 10 July 1640 to Bartholomew Johnson, a barber, and Elizabeth Denham. The two were married in 1638 and Aphra, or Eaffry, was baptized on 14 December 1640. Elizabeth Denham was employed as a nurse to the wealthy Colepeper ... more »
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Aphra Behn Poems
To the Fair Clarinda
Fair lovely Maid, or if that Title be Too weak, too Feminine for Nobler thee, Permit a Name that more Approaches Truth: And let me call thee, Lovely Charming Youth. This last will justifie my soft complaint,
A Thousand Martyrs I Have Made
A thousand Martyrs I have made, All sacrific'd to my desire; A thousand Beauties have betray'd, That languish in resistless Fire
Song : 'Love Armed'
Love in fantastic triumph sat, Whilst bleeding hearts around him flow'd, For whom fresh pains he did create, And strange tyrannic power he shew'd;
All trembling in my arms Aminta lay, Defending of the bliss I strove to take; Raising my rapture by her kind delay, Her force so charming was and weak.
Oh love! that stronger art than Wine, Pleasing Delusion, Witchery divine, Wont to be priz'd above all Wealth, Disease that has more Joys than Health;
1. One Day the Amarous Lisander, By an impatient Passion sway'd,
A THOUSAND martyrs I have made, All sacrificed to my desire, A thousand beauties have betray'd That languish in resistless fire:
Love in Fantastique Triumph satt, Whilst bleeding Hearts around him flow'd, For whom Fresh pains he did create, And strange Tryanic power he show'd;
A Congratulatory Poem
While my sad Muse the darkest Covert Sought, To give a loose to Melancholy Thought; Opprest, and sighing with the Heavy Weight Of an Unhappy dear Lov'd Monarch's Fate;
The Willing Mistress
Amyntas led me to a Grove, Where all the Trees did shade us; The Sun it self, though it had Strove, It could not have betray'd us:
Epitaph on the Tombstone of a Child
This Little, Silent, Gloomy Monument, Contains all that was sweet and innocent ; The softest pratler that e'er found a Tongue, His Voice was Musick and his Words a Song ;
Song from Abdelazar
Love in fantastic triumph sat, Whilst bleeding hearts around him flow'd, For whom fresh pains he did create, And strange tyrannic power he shew'd; From thy bright eyes he took his fire,
On the Death of E. Waller, Esq.
How, to thy Sacred Memory, shall I bring (Worthy thy Fame) a grateful Offering? I, who by Toils of Sickness, am become Almost as near as thou art to a Tomb?
Quotationsmore quotations »
''Love ceases to be a pleasure, when it ceases to be a secret.''Aphra Behn (1640-1689), British playwright, poet. repr. In The Works of Aphra Behn, vol. 6, ed. M. Summers (1915). "Four O'Clock. General Conversation...
''There is no sinner like a young saint.''Aphra Behn (1640-1689), British playwright, poet. Published in The Works of Aphra Behn, vol. 1, ed. M. Summers (1915). Willmore, in The Rover, act 1, ...
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To the Fair Clarinda
Fair lovely Maid, or if that Title be
Too weak, too Feminine for Nobler thee,
Permit a Name that more Approaches Truth:
And let me call thee, Lovely Charming Youth.
This last will justifie my soft complaint,
While that may serve to lessen my constraint;
And without Blushes I the Youth persue,
When so much beauteous Woman is in view.
Against thy Charms we struggle but in vain
With thy deluding Form thou giv'st us pain,
While the bright Nymph betrays us to the Swain.
In pity to our Sex sure thou wer't sent,
That we might Love, and yet be Innocent:
For sure ...