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Whilst thou stand'st doubting, Bradbury has got

Five thousand pound, and Conquest as much more ; W is made B from a drunken sot:

Leap in, and stand not shiv'ring on the shore;
On any one amiss thou can’st not fall,
Thou'lt end in nothing, if thou grasp'st at all.


When I had purchasd a fresh horse or coat,

For which I knew not how to pay,
Sextus, that wretched covetous old sot,

My ancient friend, as he will say ;
Lest I should borrow of him, took great care,

And mutter'd to himself aloud,
So as he knew I could not chuse but hear,

How much he to Secundus ow'd,
And twice as much he paid for interest,
Nór had one farthing in his trusty chest ;
If I had ask'd, I knew he would not lend;-
'Tis new before hand to deny a friend.

We have copied largely from these epigrams, which have been overlooked by former collectors, not only on account of their exhibiting the talent of wit, for which Sedley was celebrated in his day, to some advantage ;* but also as they display the character and manners of that age, being doubtless, portraits drawn from the life.

* Was this meant for Seth Ward, Bishop successively of Exeter and Salisbury? He was a fellow collegian with Sedley at Oxford.

7“Sedley,” says Burnet “had a more sudden and copious wit, which furnished a perpetual run of discource; but he was not 80.correct as Lord Dorset, nor so sparkling as Lord Rochester,”-History of his own Times, vol. 1 p. 372.


BORN ABOUT 1640.-DIED 1689.

Peauty may fade,--but everlasting verse
Exempts the better portion from the hearse.
The matchless wit and funcy of the fair,
Ilhich moves our enry and our son's despair,
Long shall they live a monument to her fame,
And to eternity extend her name ;
IVhile aftertimes deservedly approve
The choicest object of this age's love.
For when they read, guessing how far she charm’d,
With that bright body with such wit inform'd;
They will give heed and credit to our verse,
When we the wonders of her face rehearse.


Aphra Behn was born at Canterbury, in what year is uncertain. Her father's name was Johnson; he was a gentleman of good family, and patronised by Lord Willoughby, to whom he was related. This nobleman procured for him the appointment of Governor of Surinam, and the West India Islands, but he died on his passage ; his family, however, among which was our poetess then very young, arrived in safety, settled at Surinam, and continued to reside there several years.

During her residence at Surinam, she became acquainted with the history of the American prince, Oroonoko, of which on her return she availed herself in the composition of a tale which bears his name, and is one of the best of her literary productions; it had

also the good fortune to attract the notice of Southern, the dramatic writer, and constitutes the foundation of the most pathetic tragedy in the English language.

Aphra Johnson returned to England in the prime of life and beauty, and soon afterwards married Mr. Behn, a London merchant of Dutch extraction. What time she continued a wife is uncertain, probably not long; her marriage, however, gave her an opportunity of appearing with advantage at the gay court of Charles the Second, where she soon became an object of attraction, having all the personal and mental qualifications requisite to make a figure on such a theatre. It was the custom of that age, a custom which with characteristic propriety had its origin in France, to employ accomplished women for the purposes of political intrigue and information, and Mrs. Behn, then probably a widow, was chosen as a fit agent to reside in Flanders during the war with Holland. She selected Antwerp for the place of her residence, where she seems to have led a life of gaiety and dissipation. By means of one of her suitors, of the name of Vander Albert, she obtained a knowledge of the design formed by the Dutch to surprise London in 1667, and communicated the information in due course to the government by which she was employed. But she obtained no credit from her employers; the attempt was made, and as is well known with partial success. Disgusted with this want of confidence in her veracity, Mrs. Behn threw up her employment as a state-agent, and continued some time longer at Antwerp as a private individual. Her adventures during this period are related at some length in the narrative of her life, and are sufficiently amusing, but too long for insertion in this place.

She returned to London under an engagement of marriage with Vander Albert, which was prevented by his death. From this time, the remainder of her life was der oted to pleasure and the muse. She assumed or obtained the poetic name of Astrea, wrote plays, novels, and poems, and lived on familiar terms with Dryden, Southern, Congreve, Creech, and all the wits and gallants of the age.

Mrs. Aphra Behn died after a long illness, April the 16th, 1689, and was buried in the cloister of Westminster Abbey, where the following inscription is de voted to her memory

Here lies a proof that wit can never be
Defence enough against mortality.
Great poetess,-Oh! thy stupendous lays,
The world admires, and the muses praise.

Mrs. Aphra Behn was in her person a handsome brunette. Of her private character the following account. is given by one of her own sex, who published a narrative of her life, prefixed to one of the editions of her novels:-“She was of a generous humane disposition, something passionate, very serviceable to her friends in all that was in her power, and could sooner forgive an injury than do one: she had wit, humour, good nature, and judgment : she was mistress of all the pleasing arts of conversation: she was a woman of sense, and consequently a lover of pleasure. For my own part I knew her intimately, and never saw ought unbecoming the just modesty of our sex ; though more gay

and free than the folly of the precise will allow.".

We may be excused from entering largely into the character of this lady's literary productions, the greater part of which are forgotten, and the memory of them

should not be revived. The monstrous depravity of the age of Charles the Second was never more lamentably exhibited than in the conduct of this female author, Talents which might have adorned her sex and country, have become a scandal to the one and a disgrace to the other, from the prevalence of corrupt manners, and the influence of vicious example. She was a voluptuary; a true disciple of Epicurus, of whose opinions perhaps she knew nothing ; the deity she worshipped was the

Æneadum genetris, hominum divumque voluptas
Alma Venus.-

One master passion pervaded her whole soul, under the influence of which she exclaims,

Eternal powers! if e'er I sing of love,
And the delightful song immortal prove,
To please my wandering ghost when I am dead,
Let none but lovers the soft story read;
Praise from the wise and brave I'll notimplore,

ye lovers all, I ask no more!

Of such “perilous stuff" however, are genuine poets made; happy for them when the firm hand of judgment restrains the too rapid course of enthusiasm; when sound discre ion regulates the flights of imagination; and a fit sense of decorum and propriety affixes bounds to the expression of ardent feeling. Poor Astrea had the true poetic temperament, she wanted all the rest. She was born an age too soon ; had she lived in the present time she would have been a star of the first magnitude in the muse's galaxy,

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