TO THE FAIR CLARINDA, WHO MADE LOVE TO ME,
IMAGINED MORE THAN WOMAN
by: Aphra Behn
- AIR lovely maid, or if that title
- 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 justify my soft complaint,
- While that may serve to lessen my constraint;
- And without blushes I the youth pursue,
- 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 wert sent,
- That we might love, and yet be innocent:
- For sure no crime with thee we can commit;
- Or if we should -- 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 joined;
- When e'er the manly part of thee, would plead
- Thou tempts us with the image of the maid,
- While we the noblest passions do extend
- The love to Hermes, Aphrodite the friend.
POEMS BY APHRA BEHN
'To the fair Clarinda' was first
published in A Miscellany of New Poems by Several Hands