Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, MATERNAL DESPOTISM; OR, THE RIGHTS OF INFANTS, by RICHARD GRAVES

Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

First Line: Unhand me nurse! Thou saucy quean!
Last Line: Enjoy complete equality.
Subject(s): Boys; Children's Rights; Equality; Godwin, Mary Wollenstonecraft (1759-79); Paine, Thomas (1737-1809); Wollenstone, Mary (1759-79)

UNHAND me nurse! thou saucy quean!
What does this female tyrant mean?
Thus, head and foot, in swathes to bind,
'Spite of the 'Rights of human kind';
And lay me stretched upon my back
(Like a poor culprit on the rack);
An infant, like thyself born free,
And independent, slut! on thee.
Have I not right to kick and sprawl,
To laugh or cry, to squeak or squall!
Has ever, by my act and deed,
Thy right to rule me been decreed?
How dar'st thou, despot! then control
Th' exertions of a free-born soul?
Though now an infant, when I can,
I'll rise and seize 'The Rights of Man';
Nor make my haughty nurse alone,
But monarchs tremble, on their throne;
And boys and kings thenceforth you'll see
Enjoy complete Equality.

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