Saturday, May 10, 2008
"Without the hell, the heav'n of joy"
A Thousand Martyrs
by Aphra Behn (1640-1689)
A thousand martyrs I have made,
All sacrificed to my desire;
A thousand beauties have betrayed,
That languish in resistless fire.
The untamed heart to hand I brought,
And fixed the wild and wandering thought.
I never vowed nor sighed in vain
But both, though false, were well received.
The fair are pleased to give us pain,
And what they wish is soon believed.
And though I talked 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
Despise the fools that whine for love.
Text from Poetry Foundation.
Illustration by Thomas Rowlandson (1756-1827). Image from A World History of Art.