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7.12: Behn, Aphra. Two Poems (1688)

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    Portrait of Aphra Behn, a stern-looking white woman in a low-cut ruffled Restoration-era dress, by Peter Lely

    "File:Aphra Behn by Peter Lely.jpg"by Gabriel VanHelsing is licensed under CC0 1.0.

    To the fair Clarinda, 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 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 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'r 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.

    On Her Loving Two Equally


    How strongly does my Passion flow,

    Divided equally 'twixt two?

    Damon had ne'er subdu'd my Heart,

    Had not Alexis took his part;

    Nor cou'd Alexis pow'rful prove,

    Without my Damons Aid, to gain my Love.


    When my Alexis present is,

    Then I for Damon sigh and mourn;

    But when Alexis I do miss,

    Damon gains nothing but my Scorn.

    But if it chance they both are by,

    For both alike I languish, sigh, and die.


    Cure then, thou mighty winged God,

    This restless Feaver in my Blood;

    One Golden-Pointed Dart take back:

    But which, O Cupid, wilt thou take?

    If Damons, all my Hopes are crost;

    Or that of my Alexis, I am lost.

    This page titled 7.12: Behn, Aphra. Two Poems (1688) is shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Heather Ringo & Athena Kashyap (ASCCC Open Educational Resources Initiative) .