TO MY LADY MORLAND AT TUNBRIDGE
by: Aphra Behn (1640-1689)
POEMS BY APHRA BEHN
- s when a conqu'ror does in triumph come,
- And proudly leads the vanquished captives home,
- The joyful people crowd in ev'ry street,
- And with loud shouts of praise the victor greet;
- While some whom chance or fortune kept away,
- Desire at least the story of the day;
- How brave the Prince, how gay the chariot was,
- How beautiful he looked with what a grace;
- Whether upon his head he plumes did wear;
- Or if a wreath of bays adorned his hair:
- They hear 'tis wondrous fine, and long much more
- To see the Hero than they did before.
- So when the marvels by report I knew,
- Of how much beauty, Cloris, dwelt in you;
- How many slaves your conqu'ring eyes had won,
- And how the gazing crowd admiring throng:
- I wished to see, and much a lover grew
- Of so much beauty, though my rivals too.
- I came and saw, and blest my destiny;
- I found it just you should out-rival me.
- 'Twas at the altar, where more hearts were giv'n
- To you that day, then were addressed to Heav'n.
- The rev'rend man whose age and mystery
- Had rendered youth and beauty vanity,
- By fatal chance casting his eyes your way,
- Mistook the duller bus'ness of the day,
- Forgot the Gospel, and began to pray.
- Whilst the enamoured crowd that near you pressed
- Receiving darts which none could e'er resist,
- Neglected the mistake o'th' love-sick priest.
- Ev'n my devotion, Cloris, you betrayed,
- And I to Heaven no other petition made,
- But that you might all other nymphs out-do
- In cruelty as well as beauty too.
- I called Amyntas faithless Swain before,
- But now I find 'tis just he should adore.
- Not to love you, a wonder sure would be,
- Greater than all his perjuries to me.
- And whilst I blame him, I excuse him too;
- Who would not venture Heav'n to purchase you?
- But charming Cloris, you too meanly prize
- The more deserving glories of your eyes,
- If you permit him on an amorous score,
- To be your slave, who was my slave before.
- He oft has fetters worn, and can with ease
- Admit 'em or dismiss 'em when he please.
- A virgin-heart you merit, that ne'er found
- It could receive, till from your eyes, the wound;
- A heart that nothing but your force can fear,
- And own a soul as great as you are fair.