Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TO ELIZA, by GEORGE GORDON BYRON



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TO ELIZA, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Eliza, what fools are the mussulman sect
Last Line: The garden of eden would wither without you.
Alternate Author Name(s): Byron, Lord; Byron, 6th Baron
Subject(s): Pigot, Elizabeth; Women


ELIZA, what fools are the Mussulman sect,
Who to woman deny the soul's future existence;
Could they see thee, Eliza, they'd own their defect,
And this doctrine would meet with a general resistance.

Had their prophet possess'd half an atom of sense,
He ne'er would have women from para dise driven;
Instead of his houris, a flimsy pretence,
With women alone he had peopled his heaven.

Yet still, to increase your calamities more,
Not content with depriving your bodies of spirit,
He allots one poor husband to share amongst four! --
With souls you'd dispense, but this last who could bear it?

His religion to please neither party is made;
On husbands 't is hard, to the wives most uncivil;
Still I can't contradict, what so oft has been said,
'Though women are angels, yet wedlock's the devil.'

This terrible truth even Scripture has told,
Ye Benedicks! hear me, and listen with rapture;
If a glimpse of redemption you wish to behold,
Of St. Matt. read the second and twentieth chapter.

'T is surely enough upon earth to be vex'd
With wives who eternal confusion are spreading;
'But in Heaven' (so runs the Evangelist's Text)
'We neither have giving in marriage, or wedding.'

From this we suppose (as indeed well we may),
That should Saints after death with their spouses put up more,
And wives, as in life, aim at absolute sway,
All Heaven would ring with the conjugal uproar.

Distraction and discord would follow in course,
Nor Matthew nor Mark nor St. Paul can deny it,
The only expedient is general divorce,
To prevent universal disturbance and riot.

But though husband and wife shall at length be disjoin'd,
Yet woman and man ne'er were meant to dissever;
Our chains once dissolved and our hearts unconfined,
We'll love without bonds, but we'll love you for ever.

Though souls are denied you by fools and by rakes,
Should you own it yourselves, I would even then doubt you;
Your nature so much of celestial partakes,
The Garden of Eden would wither without you.





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