You cannot rob us of the rights we cherish,
Nor turn our thoughts away
>From the bright picture of a "Woman's Mission"
Our hearts portray.
We claim to dwell, in quiet and seclusion,
Beneath the household roof,--
>From the great world's harsh strife, and jarring voices,
To stand aloof;--
Not in a dreamy and inane abstraction
To sleep our life away,
But, gathering up the brightness of home sunshine,
To deck our way.
As humble plants by country hedgerows growing,
That treasure up the rain,
And yield in odours, ere the day's declining,
The gift again;
So let us, unobtrusive and unnoticed,
But happy none the less,
Be privileged to fill the air around us
To live, unknown beyond the cherished circle,
Which we can bless and aid;
To die, and not a heart that does not love us
Know where we're laid.
Annie Louisa Walker
Rights of Women, The
Yes, injured Woman! rise, assert thy right!
Woman! too long degraded, scorned, opprest;
O born to rule in partial Law's despite,
Resume thy native empire o'er the breast!
Go forth arrayed in panoply divine;
That angel pureness which admits no stain;
Go, bid proud Man his boasted rule resign,
And kiss the golden sceptre of thy reign.
Go, gird thyself with grace; collect thy store
Of bright artillery glancing from afar;
Soft melting tones thy thundering cannon's roar,
Blushes and fears thy magazine of war.
Thy rights are empire: urge no meaner claim,--
Felt, not defined, and if debated, lost;
Like sacred mysteries, which withheld from fame,
Shunning discussion, are revered the most.
Try all that wit and art suggest to bend
Of thy imperial foe the stubborn knee;
Make treacherous Man thy subject, not thy friend;
Thou mayst command, but never canst be free.
Awe the licentious, and restrain the rude;
Soften the sullen, clear the cloudy brow:
Be, more than princes' gifts, thy favours sued;--
She hazards all, who will the least allow.
But hope not, courted idol of mankind,
On this proud eminence secure to stay;
Subduing and subdued, thou soon shalt find
Thy coldness soften, and thy pride give way.
Then, then, abandon each ambitious thought,
Conquest or rule thy heart shall feebly move,
In Nature's school, by her soft maxims taught,
That separate rights are lost in mutual love.
Anna Lætitia Barbauld