WomanEdit

There are who lightly speak with scornful smiles,
Of woman's faith, of woman's artful wiles;
Who call her false in heart, and weak in mind,
The slave of fashion, and to reason blind.
She may be such among the gilded bowers,
Where changing follies serve to waste the hours—
But bear her from the giddy world afar,
And place her lonely, like the evening star,
And with as bright, as pure, as calm a beam,
Her milder virtues will serenely gleam:
Go, place her by the couch of pale disease,
And bid her give the feverish pulses ease—
Say, will she not the task unmurmuring bear,
To soothe the anguish'd brow with tender care—
To trim the midnight lamp, and from her eye,
Though dim with watching, bid soft slumber fly—
With lightly whisper'd voice, and noiseless tread,
Glide, like an angel, round the sick man's bed—
With tireless patience watch the speaking eye,
And all unask'd his slightest wants supply?
It is not hers to guide the storm of war,
To rule the state, or thunder at the bar—
It is not hers to captivate the heart
With potent eloquence, resistless art—
To sit with men in legislative hall,
To govern realms, or mark their rise and fall;
These things are not for her. 't is woman's care
Alone, to rear the shoots that flourish there—
To list the lisping voice, with joy refined,
To watch the first unfolding of the mind,
The springing dawn of intellectual day,
The brighter beam of reason's perfect ray;
To wipe the starting tear from childhood's eye,
To soothe his little woes, and balms apply,
To drink of science’ fount, that she may store
His opening mind with all her gather'd lore;
To guard his morals with unceasing care,
And bend, for him, the suppliant knee in prayer.
Then give him, in his full and perfect worth,
To serve the land that smiled upon his birth.

Such woman is—and shall proud man forbear,
The converse of the mind with her to share?
No! she with him shall knowledge’ pages scan,
And be the partner, not the toy, of man!
When smit with angry fortune's adverse gale,
E'en his stern spirit seems at length to quail—
When all his hopes are wreck'd, his health has flown,
And strangers claim the land he calls his own:
When friends who flatter'd ‘neath the summer sky,
With brow estranged, his alter'd fortunes fly,
Then, woman, it is thine, with changeless heart,
In all his wretchedness to bear a part:
To quit the scenes thy smiles could once illume,
And sink with him to poverty and gloom;
To soothe his sorrows, calm his aching head,
And hang in speechless fondness o'er his bed,
His woes, his wants, his sufferings to share,
Thine alter'd lot without one plaint to bear;
To lock thy silent sorrows in thy breast,
And smile, as thou wert wont, in days more blest;
His steps to follow to earth's farthest verge,
O'er icy mount, or ocean's foaming surge;
With hopes of better days his heart to cheer,
And with thy smile, to shed the first fond tear.
Such changeless faith is woman's—constant still,
Through each reversing scene of good and ill.
When man is crush'd by storms that o'er him roll,
Then rises woman's timid, shrinking soul:
Pain, peril, want, she fearlessly will bear,
To dash from man the cup of dark despair;
And only asks for all her tireless zeal,
To share his fate—whate'er he feels, to feel—
To breathe in his fond arms her latest breath,
And murmur out the loved one's name in death.