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A Thousand Martyrs I Have Made

Aphra Behn

A thousand martyrs I have made,
   All sacrific'd to my desire;
A thousand beauties have betray'd,
   That languish in resistless fire.
The untam'd heart to hand I brought,
And fixed the wild and wandering thought.

I never vow'd nor sigh'd in vain
   But both, tho' false, were well receiv'd.
The fair are pleas'd to give us pain,
   And what they wish is soon believ'd.
And tho' I talk'd 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
Despis'd the fools that whine for love.


About this poem:
Virginia Woolf writes of Aphra Behn, in A Room of One's Own, that: "She made, by working very hard, enough to live on. The importance of that fact outweighs anything that she actually wrote, even the splendid 'A Thousand Martyrs I have made,' or 'Love in Fantastic Triumph sat,' for here begins the freedom of the mind or rather the possibility that in the course of time the mind will be free to write what it likes."

 

This poem is in the public domain.

This poem is in the public domain.

Aphra Behn

by this poet

poem
Love in Fantastique Triumph satt	
Whilst Bleeding Hearts a round him flow'd,	
For whom fresh paines he did Create,	
And strange Tyranick power he show'd; 
From thy Bright Eyes he took his fire,
Which round about, in sport he hurl'd;	
But 'twas from mine he took desire,	
Enough to undo the Amorous World.	
 
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