Womanhood

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by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

   She must be honest, both in thought and deed,
   Of generous impulse, and above all greed;
   Not seeking praise, or place, or power, or pelf,
   But life’s best blessings for her higher self,
   Which means the best for all.
         She must have faith,
   To make good friends of Trouble, Pain, and Death,
   And understand their message.
         She should be
   As redolent with tender sympathy
   As is a rose with fragrance.
         Cheerfulness
   Should be her mantle, even though her dress
   May be of Sorrow’s weaving.
         On her face
   A loyal nature leaves its seal of grace,
   And chastity is in her atmosphere.
   Not that chill chastity which seems austere
   (Like untrod snow-peaks, lovely to behold
   Till once attained—then barren, loveless, cold);
   But the white flame that feeds upon the soul
   And lights the pathway to a peaceful goal.
   A sense of humour, and a touch of mirth,
   To brighten up the shadowy spots of earth;
   And pride that passes evil—choosing good.
   All these unite in perfect womanhood.

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

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