Aphra Behn Poems

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Aphra Behn
Aphra Behn (July 10, 1640 April 16, 1689) was a prolific dramatist of the Restoration and was one of the first English professional female writers. Her writing participated in the amatory fiction genre of British literature. The personal history of Aphra Behn, one of the first Englishwomen credited to earn their livelihood by authorship, is unusually interesting but very 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 July 10, 1640 to Bartholomew Johnson, a barber, and Elizabeth Denham. The two were married in 1638 and Aphra, or Eaffry, was baptized on December 14, 1640. Elizabeth Denham was employed as a nurse to the wealthy Colepeper family, who lived locally, which means that it is likely that Behn grew up with and spent time with the family's children. The younger child, Thomas Colepeper, later described Behn as his foster sister. In 1663 Behn visited an English sugar colony on the Suriname River, on the coast east of Venezuela (a region later known as Suriname). During this trip Behn is supposed to have met an African slave leader, whose story formed the basis for one of her most famous works, Oroonoko. The veracity of her journey to Suriname has often been called into question; however, enough evidence has been found that most Behn scholars today believe that the trip did indeed take place.

the disappointment
 
 
ONE Day the Amarous Lisander,
By an impatient Passion sway'd,
Surpris'd fair ... [read poem]
on the morning of christ's nativity
 
 
I

This is the month, and this the happy morn,
Wherein the Son of Heav'n's etern... [read poem]
sonnet vii: how soon hath time, the subtle thief of youth
 
 
How soon hath Time, the subtle thief of youth,
Stol'n on his wing my three-and-twentieth y... [read poem]
il penseroso
 
 
Hence vain deluding Joys,
The brood of Folly without father bred,
How little you beste... [read poem]
samson agonistes
 
 
[Samson's Opening Speech]

A little onward lend thy guiding hand
To these dar... [read poem]
paradise lost: book ix
 
 
No more of talk where God or Angel guest
With Man, as with his friend, familiar us'd
To si... [read poem]
paradise lost: book iv
 
 
O for that warning voice, which he who saw
Th' Apocalypse heard cry in Heaven aloud,
Then ... [read poem]
paradise lost: book ii (1674)
 
 
BOOK II.

THE ARGUMENT.


HIgh on a Throne of Royal State, which far... [read poem]
paradise lost: book vii (1674)
 
 
THE ARGUMENT.


DEscend from Heav'n Urania, by that name
If rightly tho... [read poem]
paradise lost: book x
 
 
Meanwhile the heinous and despiteful act
Of Satan done in Paradise, and how
He, in the Ser... [read poem]
paradise lost: book vi (1674)
 
 
THE ARGUMENT.


ALL night the dreadless Angel unpursu'd
Through Heav'ns wide C... [read poem]
lycidas
 
 
Yet once more, O ye laurels, and once more
Ye myrtles brown, with ivy never sere,
I come t... [read poem]
paradise lost: book i
 
 
Of Man's first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste
Broug... [read poem]
on the lord general fairfax at the siege of colchester
 
 
Fairfax, whose name in arms through Europe rings
Filling each mouth with envy, or with prai... [read poem]
comus
 
 
Sweet Echo, sweetest nymph that liv'st unseen
Within thy airy shell
By slow Meander's ma... [read poem]
l'allegro
 
 
Hence loathed Melancholy,
Of Cerberus, and blackest Midnight born,
In Stygian cave forlorn... [read poem]
paradise regain'd: book iv (1671)
 
 
PErplex'd and troubl'd at his bad success
The Tempter stood, nor had what to reply,
Discov... [read poem]
sonnet xvi: to the lord general cromwell
 
 
Cromwell, our chief of men, who through a cloud
Not of war only, but detractions rude,... [read poem]
sonnet xxii: to cyriack skinner
 
 
Cyriack, this three years' day these eyes, though clear
To outward view of blemish or of s... [read poem]
sonnet xix: when i consider how my light is spent
 
 
When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
... [read poem]
paradise lost: book xi (1674)
 
 
THE ARGUMENT.


THus they in lowliest plight repentant stood
Praying, for from... [read poem]
sonnet xii: i did but prompt the age to quit their clogs
 
 
I did but prompt the age to quit their clogs
By the known rules of ancient liberty,
... [read poem]
sonnet xviii: on the late massacre in piemont
 
 
Avenge, O Lord, thy slaughter'd saints, whose bones
Lie scatter'd on the Alpine mountains ... [read poem]
paradise lost: book x (1674)
 
 
THE ARGUMENT.


MEanwhile the hainous and despightfull act
Of Satan don... [read poem]
paradise lost: book ix (1674)
 
 
THE ARGUMENT.


NO more of talk where God or Angel Guest
With Man, as with his... [read poem]
to mr. lawrence
 
 
Lawrence, of virtuous father virtuous son,
Now that the fields are dank, and ways are mire... [read poem]
paradise lost: book i (1674)
 
 
THE

VERSE.


BOOK I.

THE ARGUMENT.


OF Ma... [read poem]
paradise regain'd: book i (1671)
 
 
I Who e're while the happy Garden sung,
By one mans disobedience lost, now sing
Recover'd ... [read poem]
sonnet xxiii: methought i saw my late espoused saint
 
 
Methought I saw my late espoused saint
Brought to me, like Alcestis, from the grave,
... [read poem]

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