1827 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Lord Byron

M. A. B., aged 14; "On Lord Byron's Assertion, that Woman was devoid of Sense, and that she never did any Good without it was to lead to Evil" September 1827; Genius of Universal Emancipation [Baltimore] NS 2 (28 June 1828) 152.



Oh! why say that woman is faithless and light,
And that wisdom alone to thy sex is confined?
That her heart is as false as her beauty is bright,
And her loveliness lies in her face, not her mind?

Remember 'twas Woman first lulled thee to rest,
Remember 'twas she that first over thee hung;
That thou slept'st thy first sleep on a Woman's fond breast,
And thy first infant accents were caught from her tongue.

She guided thy steps in thy infantile years,
She anxiously watched where thy careless feet strayed,
She hushed all thy wailing, she dried all thy tears,
And delighted she saw thy young genius displayed.

And is not fair Woman the sweetner of life?
With man she divides her enjoyments and cares—
The Friend, or the Sister, the Daughter, or Wife,
Alike in his pleasure or sorrow she share;

She is like the fair woodbine that wreaths round the oak,
That derives its support from the tree's noble stem,
And though it be scathed by the light'ning's dread stroke,
Still weaves of its flowrets a rich diadem.

'Tis Woman supports and consoles man's decline,
She drops o'er his woes the pure pitying tear,
And her love like a tendril still round him will twine,
A tendril that time cannot wither or sear.

'Tis she that will watch the last life-drop depart
From the cheek where so often her smile has removed
The dark cloud, then will feel the last throb of the heart,
And weep o'er the corpse of the being she loved.

She will freely confess she is weaker than thee,
But her weakness should move not thine anger but love;
Oh! thou should'st remember those moments when she
Hath cheered thee, and seemed like a form from above.

To thee for instruction and strength she must cling,
For she does not pretend to be wise as thou art;
Her impulses flow from Affection's warm spring;
Her feelings are not from the head, but the heart:

Then why say she only be malice is stirred?
No; even her failings from kindness descend:
Oh! revoke the rude sentence, recall the harsh word,
And Woman henceforth will be ever thy friend.