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BISAC: Literary Collections / Ancient, Classical & Medieval
ARE WOMEN PEOPLE?
A Consistent Anti to Her Son(“Look at the hazards, the risks, the physical dangers that ladies would be exposed to at the polls.”—Anti-suffrage speech.)
You’re twenty-one to-day, Willie,
And a danger lurks at the door,
I’ve known about it always,
But I never spoke before;
When you were only a baby
It seemed so very remote,
But you’re twenty-one to-day, Willie,
And old enough to vote.
You must not go to the polls, Willie,
Never go to the polls,
They’re dark and dreadful places
Where many lose their souls;
They smirch, degrade and coarsen,
Terrible things they do
To quiet, elderly women—
What would they do to you!
If you’ve a boyish fancy
For any measure or man,
Tell me, and I’ll tell Father,
He’ll vote for it, if he can.
He casts my vote, and Louisa’s,
And Sarah, and dear Aunt Clo;
Wouldn’t you let him vote for you?
Father, who loves you so?
I’ve guarded you always, Willie,
Body and soul from harm;
I’ll guard your faith and honor,
Your innocence and charm
From the polls and their evil spirits,
Politics, rum and pelf;
Do you think I’d send my only son
Where I would not go myself?
Our Idea of Nothing at All
(“I am opposed to woman suffrage, but I am not opposed to woman.”—Anti-suffrage speech of Mr. Webb of North Carolina.)
O women, have you heard the news
Of charity and grace?
Look, look, how joy and gratitude
Are beaming in my face!
For Mr. Webb is not opposed
To woman in her place!
O Mr. Webb, how kind you are
To let us live at all,
To let us light the kitchen range
And tidy up the hall;
To tolerate the female sex
In spite of Adam’s fall.
O girls, suppose that Mr. Webb
Should alter his decree!
Suppose he were opposed to us—
Opposed to you and me.
What would be left for us to do—
Except to cease to be?
Lines to Mr. Bowdle of Ohio
(“The women of this smart capital are beautiful. Their beauty is disturbing to business; their feet are beautiful, their ankles are beautiful, but here I must pause.”—Mr. Bowdle’s anti-suffrage speech in Congress, January 12, 1915.)
You, who despise the so-called fairer sex,
Be brave. There really isn’t any reason
You should not, if you wish, oppose and vex
And scold us in, and even out of season;
But don’t regard it as your bounden duty
To open with a tribute to our beauty.
Say if you like that women have no sense,
No self-control, no power of concentration;
Say that hysterics is our one defence
Our virtue but an absence of temptation;
These I can bear, but, oh, I own it rankles
To hear you maundering on about our ankles.
Tell those old stories, which have now and then
Been from the Record thoughtfully deleted,
Repeat that favorite one about the hen,
Repeat the ones that cannot be repeated;
But in the midst of such enjoyments, smother
The impulse to extol your “sainted mother.”
On Not Believing All You Hear
(“Women are angels, they are jewels, they are queens and princesses of our hearts.”—Anti-suffrage speech of Mr. Carter of Oklahoma.)
“Angel, or jewel, or princess, or queen,
Tell me immediately, where have you been?”
“I’ve been to ask all my slaves so devoted
Why they against my enfranchisement voted.”
“Angel and princess, that action was wrong.
Back to the kitchen, where angels belong.”
The Revolt of Mother
(“Every true woman feels—-“—Speech of almost any Congressman.)
I am old-fashioned, and I think it right
That man should know, by Nature’s laws eternal,
The proper way to rule, to earn, to fight,
And exercise those functions called paternal;
But even I a little bit rebel
At finding that he knows my job as well.
At least he’s always ready to expound it,
Especially in legislative hall,
The joys, the cares, the halos that surround it,
“How women feel”—he knows that best of all.
In fact his thesis is that no one can
Know what is womanly except a man.
I am old-fashioned, and I am content
When he explains the world of art and science
And government—to him divinely sent—
I drink it in with ladylike compliance.
But cannot listen—no, I’m only human—
While he instructs me how to be a woman.
The Gallant Sex
(A woman engineer has been dismissed by the Board of Education, under their new rule that women shall not attend high pressure boilers, although her work has been satisfactory and she holds a license to attend such boilers from the Police Department.)
Lady, dangers lurk in boilers,
Risks I could not let you face.
Men were meant to be the toilers,
Home, you know, is woman’s place.
Have no home? Well, is that so?
Still, it’s not my fault, you know.
Charming lady, work no more;
Fair you are and sweet as honey;
Work might make your fingers sore,
And, besides, I need the money.
Prithee rest,—or starve or rob—
Only let me have your job!
(“My wife is against suffrage, and that settles me.”—Vice-President Marshall.)
My wife dislikes the income tax,
And so I cannot pay it;
She thinks that golf all interest lacks,
So now I never play it;
She is opposed to tolls repeal
(Though why I cannot say),
But woman’s duty is to feel,
And man’s is to obey.
I’m in a hard position for a perfect gentleman,
I want to please the ladies, but I don’t see how I can,
My present wife’s a suffragist, and counts on my support,
But my mother is an anti, of a rather biting sort;
One grandmother is on the fence, the other much opposed,
And my sister lives in Oregon, and thinks the question’s closed;
Each one is counting on my vote to represent her view.
Now what should you think proper for a gentleman to do?
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