Woman to Man

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by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Woman is man’s enemy, rival, and competitor. -JOHN J. INGALLS.

   You do but jest, sir, and you jest not well,
   How could the hand be enemy of the arm,
   Or seed and sod be rivals! How could light
   Feel jealousy of heat, plant of the leaf,
   Or competition dwell ’twixt lip and smile?
   Are we not part and parcel of yourselves?
   Like strands in one great braid we entertwine
   And make the perfect whole. You could not be,
   Unless we gave you birth; we are the soil
   From which you sprang, yet sterile were that soil
   Save as you planted. (Though in the Book we read
   One woman bore a child with no man’s aid,
   We find no record of a man-child born
   Without the aid of woman! Fatherhood
   Is but a small achievement at the best,
   While motherhood comprises heaven and hell.)
   This ever-growing argument of sex
   Is most unseemly, and devoid of sense.
   Why waste more time in controversy, when
   There is not time enough for all of love,
   Our rightful occupation in this life?
   Why prate of our defects, of where we fail,
   When just the story of our worth would need
   Eternity for telling, and our best
   Development comes ever through your praise,
   As through our praise you reach your highest self?
   Oh! had you not been miser of your praise
   And let our virtues be their own reward,
   The old-established order of the world
   Would never have been changed. Small blame is ours
   For this unsexing of ourselves, and worse.
   Effeminising of the male. We were
   Content, sir, till you starved us, heart and brain.
   All we have done, or wise, or otherwise,
   Traced to the root, was done for love of you.
   Let us taboo all vain comparisons,
   And go forth as God meant us, hand in hand,
   Companions, mates, and comrades evermore;
   Two parts of one divinely ordained whole.

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

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