To the Fair Clorinda

By Aphra Behn 1640–1689 Aphra Behn

WHO MADE LOVE TO ME,
IMAGIN’D MORE THAN WOMAN

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 complainte,
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 no Crime with thee we can commit;
Or if we shou’d – thy Form excuses it.
For who, that gathers fairest Flowers believes
A Snake lies hid beneath the Fragrant Leaves.

    Thou beauteous Wonder of a different kind,
Soft Cloris with the dear Alexis join’d;
When e’er the Manly part of thee, wou’d plead
Thou tempts us with the Image of the Maid,
While we the noblest Passions do extend
The Love to Hermes, Aphrodite the Friend.   

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Poet Aphra Behn 1640–1689

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD 17th Century

Subjects Love, Relationships, Desire, Infatuation & Crushes

 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, Relationships, Desire, Infatuation & Crushes

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD 17th Century

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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