Aphra Behn


'Here lies a Proof that Wit can never be
Defence enough against Mortality'


Aphra Behn is buried in the East Cloister of Westminster Abbey, London, England.

Gravestone of Aphra Behn

Aphra Behn is now famous for being the first woman to earn her living from writing. She was a poet, playwright and novelist. 

In her early twenties she visited Surinam and on her return she married a merchant scaller Behn who died two year later. She later worked as a spy for Charles II  during the Dutch War. 

Her most famous poem was a coronation ode to Charles II. 

The hero of her best known play, The Rover,  was said to have been based on John Wilmot (Earl of Rochester).

Her novel Oroonoko - the story of an enslaved African Prince - was one of the first anti-slavery works in the English Language. 

She was also a friend of John Dryden.

She attracted notoriety due to her unconventional opinions and the erotic nature of some of her work.

From me he took his sighs and tears,
   From thee his pride and cruelty;
From me his languishments and fears,
   And every killing dart from thee.
Thus thou and I the god have armed
   And set him up a deity;
But my poor heart alone is harmed,
   Whilst thine the victor is, and free!

From Song






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