A Thousand Martyrs

By Aphra Behn 1640–1689 Aphra Behn
A thousand martyrs I have made,
   All sacrificed to my desire;
A thousand beauties have betrayed,
   That languish in resistless fire.
The untamed heart to hand I brought,
And fixed the wild and wandering thought.

I never vowed nor sighed in vain
   But both, though false, were well received.
The fair are pleased to give us pain,
   And what they wish is soon believed.
And though I talked of wounds and smart,
Love’s pleasures only touched my heart.

Alone the glory and the spoil
   I always laughing bore away;
The triumphs, without pain or toil,
   Without the hell, the heav’n of joy.
And while I thus at random rove
Despise the fools that whine for love.

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Poet Aphra Behn 1640–1689

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD 17th Century

Subjects Love, Romantic Love, Realistic & Complicated

 Aphra  Behn

Biography

Aphra Behn, one of the most influential dramatists of the late seventeenth century, was also a celebrated poet and novelist. Her contemporary reputation was founded primarily on her "scandalous" plays, which she claimed would not have been criticized for impropriety had a man written them. Behn's assertion of her unique role in English literary history is confirmed not only by the extraordinary circumstances of her writings, but . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Love, Romantic Love, Realistic & Complicated

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD 17th Century

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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