Say, Tyrant Custom, why must we obey
The impositions of thy haughty Sway;
From the first dawn of Life, unto the Grave,
Poor Womankind's in every State, a Slave.
The Nurse, the Mistress, Parent and the Swain,
For Love she must, there's none escape that Pain;
Then comes the last, the fatal Slavery,
The Husband with insulting Tyranny
Can have ill Manners justify'd by Law;
For Men all join to keep the Wife in awe.
Moses who first our Freedom did rebuke,
Was Marry'd when he writ the Pentateuch;
They're Wise to keep us Slaves, for well they know,
If we were loose, we soon should make them so.
We yield like vanquish'd Kings whom Fetters bind,
When chance of War is to Usurpers kind;
Submit in Form; but they'd our Thoughts control,
And lay restraints on the impassive Soul:
They fear we should excel their sluggish parts,
Should we attempt the Sciences and Arts;
Pretend they were design'd for them alone,
So keep us Fools to raise their own Renown;
Thus Priests of old their Grandeur to maintain,
Cry'd vulgar Eyes would sacred Laws Profane.
So kept the Mysteries behind a Screen,
There Homage and the Name were lost had they been seen:
But in this blessed Age, such Freedom's given,
That every Man explains the Will of Heaven;
And shall we Women now sit tamely by,
Make no excursions in Philosophy,
Or grace our Thoughts in tuneful Poetry?
We will our Rights in Learning's World maintain,
Wit's Empire, now, shall know a Female Reign,
Come all ye Fair, the great Attempt improve,
Divinely imitate the Realms above:
There's ten celestial Females govern Wit,
And but two Gods that dare pretend to it;
And shall these finite Males reverse their Rules,
No, we'll be Wits, and then Men must be Fools.
The Repulse To Alcander
What is't you mean, that I am thus approach'd,
Dare you to hope, that I may be debauch'd?
For your seducing Words the same implies,
In begging Pity with a soft Surprise,
For one who loves, and sighs, and almost dies.
In ev'ry Word and Action doth appear,
Something I hate and blush to see or hear;
At first your Love for vast Respect was told,
Till your excess of Manners grew too bold,
And did your base, designing Thoughts unfold.
When a Salute did seem to Custom due,
With too much Ardour you'd my Lips pursue;
My Hand, with which you play'd, you'd Kiss and Press,
Nay, ev'ry Look had something of Address.
Ye Gods! I cry'd, sure he designs to woo,
For thus did amorous Phylaster do.
The Youth whose Passion none could disapprove,
When Hymen waited to complete his Love;
But now, when sacred Laws and Vows confine
Me to another, what can you design?
At first, I could not see the lewd Abuse,
But fram'd a thousand Things for your Excuse.
I knew that Bacchus sometimes did inspire
A sudden Transport, tho' not lasting Fire;
For he no less than Cupid can make kind,
And force a Fondness which was ne'er design'd;
Or thought you'd travel'd far, and it might chance,
To be the foreign Mode of Complaisance.
Till you so oft your amorous Crimes repeat,
That to permit you would make mine as great;
Nor stopt you here but languishingly spake,
That Love which I endeavour'd to mistake:
What saw you in me, that could make you vain,
Or any thing expect, but just Disdain?
I must confess I am not quite so Nice,
To Damn all little Gallantries for Vice
(But I see now my Charity's misplac'd,
If none but sullen Saints can be thought Chaste):
Yet know, Base Man, I scorn your lewd Amours,
Hate them from all, not only 'cause they're yours.
Oh sacred Love! let not the World profane
Thy Transports, thus to Sport, and Entertain;
The Beau, with some small Artifice of's own,
Can make a Treat, for all the wanton Town:
I thought my self secure, within these Shades,
But your rude Love, my privacy invades,
Affronts my Virtue, hazards my just Fame,
Why should I suffer, for your lawless Flame?
For oft 'tis known, through Vanity and Pride,
Men boast those Favours which they are deny'd;
Or other's Malice, which can soon discern;
Perhaps may see in you some kind Concern.
So scatter false Suggestions of their own,
That I love too: Oh! Stain to my Renown;
No, I'll be Wise, avoid your Sight in time,
And shun at once the Censure and the Crime.