“Reasons against deifying the Fair Sex.”
By another Hand.
Madam, I own I was so smit
What with your Beauty and your Wit,
That I began, which very odd is,
To think of making you a Goddess;
I talk’d of building you a Temple, 5
And off’ring up for an Ensample,
My own dear Heart in low Prostration,
With all the Cant of Adoration.
But thinking closely on the Matter,
I’ve since concluded, ‘twoud be better 10
You’d be above such Vanity,
And keep to your Humanity.
For first, if you a Goddess be,
What will become of Mortal Me?
Cloath’d in your Majesty Divine, 15
I tremble to approach your Shrine.
At awful distance, lo ! I stand
With quiv’ring Lip and shaking Hand;
Or beg, on bended Knee, to greet
With humble Kiss your heav’nly Feet. 20
For VENUS can’t descend to any
So low as romping like—Miss NANNY.
Again, consider, shou’d you rise
To the high rank of Deities;
You cannot long support your Reign, 25
Nor long your Goddess-ship maintain:
For you must know, Deification
Is brought to pass by Incantation;
By Words of elevating Sound,
From Lips of Lover on the Ground 30
Utter’d in Raptures; Flames and Darts,
Altars, Worship, bleeding Hearts,
Sun, Venus, Quintessence of Worth,
Extasies, Heav’n, and so forth.
Now when you condescend to wed, 35
And take the Mortal to your Bed,
One Moon has scarce her Period crown’d;
Ere the rude Creature turns him round,
And with familiar Airs of Spouse,
(Reverse of what he wont to use) 40
Treats you like one of this our Earth:
You, conscious of Your heav’nly Birth,
Th’ irreverent Liberty disdain,
And tell the Wretch “He turns prophane;
At this th’ audacious Thing grows hot, 45
Calls you Chit, Woman, and what not?
Mumbling, in direful retribution,
Some other Forms of Diminution
Malign; your Glories vanish quick,
Olympus turns to house of Brick. 50
Instead of Cupids and the Graces,
Plain earthly Betty takes their places:
Your Altars (which who won’t recoil at?)
Change to Tea-table or a Toilet:
The Goddess sinks to Flesh and Blood; 55
While Husband in the cooing Mood,
Gives you a Buss, nor cares who sees it,
And fondly cries, “My Dear how is it?”
Thus, Madam, not to keep you longer,
(For I can urge no Reasons stronger) 60
You plainly see, it is not fitting,
That you among the stars be sitting.
Wherefore, I think, you won’t desire
To leave our Species for a higher.
But be content, with what’s your due, 65
And what your Rivals think so too;
That, for soft Charms and Sense refin’d,
You shine the Pride of Woman kind.
Subtitle Unable to trace.
1 smit a poetic construction for “smitten”.
6 Ensample “An illustrative instance” (OED).
8 Cant “The special phraseology of a particular class of persons, or belonging to a particular subject; professional or technical jargon (Always depreciative or contemptuous)” (OED).
21 VENUS “The ancient Roman goddess of beauty and love (esp. sensual love), or the corresponding Greek goddess Aphrodite” (OED).
46 Chit “A person considered as no better than a child. ‘Generally used of young persons in contempt’ (Johnson); now, mostly of a girl or young woman” (OED).
50 Olympus “More fully Mount Olympus. The home of the greater gods and goddesses in ancient Greek mythology, traditionally identified with a mountain in northern Thessaly at the eastern end of the range dividing the Greek regions of Thessaly and Macedonia. Also in extended use: the home of the gods; heaven” (OED).
51 Cupids “Cupid, ancient Roman god of love in all its varieties, the counterpart of the Greek god Eros and the equivalent of Amor in Latin poetry”; Graces “Frequently the Graces were taken as goddesses of charm or beauty in general and hence were associated with Aphrodite, the goddess of love” (Encyclopedia Britannica).
52 Betty “A female pet name or familiar name, once fashionable (as in Lady Betty), but now chiefly rustic or homely” (OED).
57 Buss “A kiss, esp. a loud or vigorous one” (OED).
Source: Mary Masters, Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1733), pp. 206-10. [Google Books]
Edited by Lauren Cirina