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Poem by Robert Burns


The Rights of Woman


Prologue spoken by miss fontenelle on her benefit-night. 
[Nov. 26, 1792.]

WHILE Europes eye is fixd on mighty things,
The fate of Empires, and the fall of Kings;
While quacks of State must each produce his plan,
And even children lisp the Rights of Man;
Amid the mighty fuss just let me mention,
The Rights of Woman merit some attention.
  First, in the Sexes intermixd connexion,
One sacred Right of Woman is, Protection.
The tender flower that lifts its head, elate,
Helpless, must fall before the blasts of Fate,
Sunk on the earth, defacd its lovely form,
Unless your shelter ward th impending storm.
  Our second Right-but needless here is caution,
To keep that Right inviolates the fashion,
Each man of sense has it so full before him,
Hed die before hed wrong it-tis Decorum.
There was, indeed, in far less polished days,
A time, when rough rude man had naughty ways;
Would swagger, swear, get drunk, kick up a riot,
Nay, even thus invade a Ladys quiet!
Now, thank our stars! those Gothic times are fled;
Now, well-bred men-and you are all well-bred!
Most justly think (and we are much the gainers)
Such conduct neither spirit, wit, nor manners.
  For Right the third, our last, our best, our dearest,
That Right to fluttering female hearts the nearest,
Which even the Rights of Kings in low prostration
Most humbly own-tis dear, dear admiration!
In that blest sphere alone we live and move;
There taste that life of life-immortal love.
Sighs, tears, smiles, glances, fits, flirtations, airs,
Gainst such an host what flinty savage dares?
When awful Beauty joins with all her charms,
Who is so rash as rise in rebel arms?
  Then truce with kings, and truce with constitutions,
With bloody armaments and revolutions!
Let Majesty your first attention summon,
Ah! a ira!  THE MAJESTY OF WOMAN!



                      Robert Burns


Robert Burns's other poems:
  1. Tam Samsons Elegy
  2. Could Aught of Song
  3. O Whare Bid Ye Get
  4. Prayer For Mary
  5. Jockeys Taen the Parting Kiss


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