The Birtwhistles of Craven and Galloway
Appendix 1 cont.
Vow’d none but woman should advise him;
And form’d, no doubt, this resolution,
Because she shines in elocution.
Ev’n Horace, lord of wit benign
High priest of liberty and wine;
Renounce’d the laurel for the myrtle,
And coo’d to
Just Plutarch ++ but us keep the keys,
That husbands may be ruled with ease;
(* see Plutarch’s Life of Cato the Elder)
(+See his letters to Terentia)
( ++ In his lives of Agis
From philosophers and historians
For, says th’ historian, “ ‘tis confest,
“Wives always have manage these things best:
“Of ways to govern we know four,
“But women teach a thousand more.”
Demosthenes, the learned Grecian,
Great orator and politician,
Evinced beyond all logic’s strife,
The world was govern’d by his wife.
“Govern’d by me the state with ease is,
“And my wife rules me as she pleases.”
Thus argued he.. and authors tell,
No politician schem’d so well.
*Brahma, a godlike legislator
Thus speaks the law of truth and nature,
“Husbands! ye own your future lives,
“Wealth, peace, and honour, to your wives,”
(* see Hindoo Institutes)
By which he institutes us nurses,
Both of their character and purses.
Great Mahomet, whom half of mankind
A sage and prophet have enshrin’d,
Declar’d for mortals could be made,
No paradise without our aid.
And gravely said, if beauty gave
One kiss to the tempestuous wave,
Its rage and bitterness would cease,
And ocean be the realm of peace:*
Tho’ some report he could not find
Five peaceful souls in woman kind.+
Fam’d Montesquieu, the prince of sages,
Delight and pride of later ages,
Romans! Your ancient pow’r derives,
From due obedience to your wives++
And tho’, when infidels addressing,
He calls a speechless wife a blessing;
(*From the Koran)
(+See Abubekr’s Life of the Prophet)
He tells us in decisive tone
The right of empire is our own!
Philosphers! your votes collected,
Let kings and poets be respected;
Historic Muse, descend and tell,
How oft we rul’d them and how well!
Shrewd reasoners suspect, you say, sirs,
That some were mad and some were traitors;
What means this hypercritic fuss?
They managed all the world but us.
But spare the endless list of dead bards,
And count our Henry’s and Edwards;
Tell us how
We ruled their realms as well as they did:
How many Margarets and Marys
Made wisdom’s sons their secretaries;
Taught us the art of perfect swaying,
And man the duty of obeying.
Czar Peter’s theory exact is,
But ‘twas a woman shew’d in practise;
Modern opinion, pro and con
Has not immortal Fred’ric told us,
He always trembled to behold us?
Great Henry, ‘midst triumphant laurels,
Found woman umpire for his quarrels;
And Charles, who filled the world with pale fears,
Thought any jargon only fit for male ears;
But never hoping to subdue us,
Dar’d only lisp Italian to us.*
Our sex a soul-less race pronounced still,
(Nay, published the decree nem con,
Or only negativ’d by one).
St. Peter’s deputies acknowledge,
One woman worth the sacred college, +
The land of poets to our race owes,
Her Petrarchs and her Metastasios;
(* Charles V. used to say he would speak
Dutch, German or Spanish on other occasions,
but only Italian to his mistress.)
(+The Pope’s dominions in
derived from a Maria,
Summary of evidence
And Raphael his sublimest science,
With beauty found in strict alliance.
What British bards have said and writ,
To prove our gentle empire fit,
Might in a thousand rhymes be vaunted,
And fill ocatavos- if ‘twere wanted.
A Pope supreme in with declar’d
That “ woman could not be spar’d;
“If to her share some errors fall
“Behold her and they vanish all!”
Our roughest enemy grew mellow,
Warm’d by the beaming eye of Stella,
And vow’d the virtues which became man,
Are quite as excellent in woman!
But let us with their votes dispense,
We ask no farther evidence.
Creations lords! your charter bring,
Be every one at home a king;
But none will claim except the brute,
To be a monarch absolute.
A special verdict
‘Tis the wife’s province we aver,
To be her chief’s prime minister;
Accountable for each home measure,
To fill each office at her pleasure:
Keep of the treasury the keys,
Give good advice, tho’ it may tease.
Each has their sphere, as is the fact,
‘Tis hers to counsel, his to act:
His be the sceptre, hers the string, *
She the MINISTER- AND HE THE KING!
(* Either the leading string of the purse string).