Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ON SIR J- S- SAYING IN A SARCASTIC MANNER, MY BOOKS WOULD MAKE ME MAD, by ELIZABETH THOMAS



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ON SIR J- S- SAYING IN A SARCASTIC MANNER, MY BOOKS WOULD MAKE ME MAD, by            
First Line: Unhappy sex! How hard's our fate
Last Line: And thank our gracious laws that give such liberty.
Subject(s): Women - Writers


UNHAPPY sex! how hard's our fate,
By Custom's tyranny confined
To foolish needlework and chat,
Or such like exercise as that,
But still denied th' improvement of our mind!
'Women!' men cry, 'alas, poor fools!
What are they but domestic tools?
On purpose made our toils to share,
And ease the husband's economic care.
To dress, to sing, to work, to play,
To watch our looks, our words obey,
And with their little follies drive dull thoughts away.
Thus let them humbly in subjection live;
But learning leave to man, our great prerogative.'

Most mighty sovereigns, we submit,
And own ye monarchs of the realms of Wit:
But might a slave to her superiors speak,
And without treason silence break,
She'd first implore your royal grace,
Then humbly thus expostulate the case.
Those who to husbands have their power resigned
Will in their house a full employment find,
And little time command to cultivate the mind.
Had we been made intuitively wise,
Like angels' vast capacities,
I would allow we need not use
Those rules experience does infuse:
But if born ignorant, though fit for more,
Can you deny we should improve our store?
Or won't you be so just to grant
That those perfections which we want,
And can't acquire when in a married state,
Should be attained before?
Believe me, 'tis a truth long understood,
That those who know not why they're so, can ne'er be wise or good.

What surer method can we take
Than this ye seem to choose?
'Tis books ye write, and books ye use;
But yet we must a serious judgement make,
What to elect, and what refuse.
Is't not by books we're taught to know
The great Creator of this world below?
The vast dimensions of this earth,
And to what minute particles poor mortals owe their birth?
By books, th' Almighty's works we learn and prize,
But those phenomenas, which dazzle vulgar eyes,
We can as much despise.
And more than this, well chosen books do show
What unto God, and what to man we owe.
Yet, if we enquire for a book,
Beyond a novel or a play,
Good lord! how soon th' alarm's took,
How soon your eyes your souls betray,
And with what spite ye look!
How naturally ye stare and scowl,
Like wondering birds about an owl,
And with malicious sneer these dismal accents howl:

'Alas, poor Plato! All thy glory's past:
What, in a female hand arrived at last!'
'Sure,' adds another, ''tis for something worse;
This itch of reading's sent her as a curse.'
'No, no,' cries good Sir John, 'but 'tis as bad,
For if she's not already crazed, I'm sure she will be mad.'
'Tis thus ye rail to vent your spleen,
And think your wondrous wit is seen:
But 'tis the malice of your sex appears.
What, suffer woman to pretend to sense!
Oh! how this optic magnifies the offence,
And aggravates your fears!
But since the French in all ye ape,
Why should not they your morals shape?
Their women are as gay and fair,
Yet learned ladies are no monsters there.
What is it from our sex ye fear,
That thus ye curb our powers?
D'ye apprehend a bookish war,
Or are your judgements less for raising ours?
Come, come, the real truth confess
(A fault acknowledged is the less),
And own it was an avaricious soul,
Which would, with greedy eyes, monopolise the whole;
And bars us learning on the selfish score,
That, conscious of our native worth,
Ye dread to make it more.
Then thanks to Heaven we're English-born and free,
And thank our gracious laws that give such liberty.





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