Aphra Behn

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Variety is the soul of pleasure.

Aphra Behn (née Aphra Johnson) (July 10 1640April 16 1689) was a prolific Restoration dramatist and writer of amatory fiction. She was one of the first English professional woman writers.


  • No friend to Love like a long voyage at sea.
  • There's no sinner like a young saint.
    • The Rover, Part I, Act I, sc. ii.
  • Patience is a flatterer, sir, and an ass, sir.
    • The Feigned Courtesans, Act III, sc. i (1679).
  • Variety is the soul of pleasure.
    • The Rover, Part II, Act I (1681).
  • Come away; poverty's catching.
    • The Rover, Part II, Act I.
  • Money speaks sense in a language all nations understand.
    • The Rover, Part II, Act III, sc. i.
  • One hour of right-down love is worth an age of dully living on.
    • The Rover, Part II, Act V.
  • A brave world, sir, full of religion, knavery, and change: we shall shortly see better days.
    • The Roundheads (1682).
  • Faith, sir, we are here today, and gone tomorrow.
    • The Lucky Chance, Act IV (1686).
  • Love ceases to be a pleasure when it ceases to be a secret.
    • The Lover's Watch, "Four o'Clock General Conversation" (1686).
  • Oh what a dear ravishing thing is the beginning of an Amour!
    • The Emperor of the Moon, Act I, sc. i (1687).
  • He that knew all that ever Learning writ,
    Knew only this - that he knew nothing yet.
    • The Emperor of the Moon, Act III, sc. iii.
  • Nothing is more capable of troubling our reason, and consuming our health, than secret notions of jealousy in solitude.
    • The History of Agnes de Castro, or the Force of Generous Love (1688).
  • …that perfect Tranquillity of Life, which is no where to be found, but in retreat, a faithful Friend and a good Library…
    • The Lucky Mistake (1689).
  • Each moment of the happy lover's hour is worth an age of dull and common life.
    • The Younger Brother, Act III, sc. ii (published posthumously 1696).

Quotes about Behn[edit]

  • She was employed by Charles II, in 1666, in a political negotiation at Antwerp, which she managed with much dexterity; but her intelligence (though well-founded) being disregarded, she renounced all state affairs, and amused herself some time with the gallantries of Antwerp; and, when she arrived at London, dedicated the rest of her life to pleasure and poetry.

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