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Tuesday, April 28, 2020

April 28: "A Woman's Answer to a Man's Question" by Mary T. Lathrap

A Woman's Answer to a Man's Question
by Mary T. Lathrap (1838-1895)
(Written in reply to a man's poetic unfolding of what he conceived to be a woman's duty.)

    Do you know you have asked for the costliest thing 
        Ever made by the hand above— 
    A woman's heart, and a woman's life 
        And a woman's wonderful love?

    Do you know you have asked for this priceless thing 
        As a child might ask for a toy, 
    Demanding what others have died to win, 
        With the reckless dash of a boy?

    You have written my lesson of duty out, 
        Man-like you have questioned me; 
    Now stand at the bar of my woman's soul 
        Until I shall question thee.

    You require your mutton shall always be hot, 
        Your socks and your shirt be whole; 
    I require your heart to be true as God's stars, 
        And as pure as heaven your soul.

    You require a cook for your mutton and beef; 
        I require a far better thing. 
    A seamstress you're wanting for socks and shirts; 
        I look for a man and a king.

    A king for the beautiful realm called home, 
        And a man that the maker, God, 
    Shall look upon as he did the first 
        And say, "It is very good."

    I am fair and young, but the rose will fade 
        From my soft, young cheek one day, 
    Will you love me then 'mid the falling leaves, 
        As you did 'mid the bloom of May?

    Is your heart an ocean so strong and deep, 
        I may launch my all on its tide? 
    A loving woman finds heaven or hell 
        On the day she is made a bride.

    I require all things that are grand and true, 
        All things that a man should be; 
    If you give all this, I would stake my life 
        To be all you demand of me.

    If you cannot do this — a laundress and cook 
        You can hire, with little to pay, 
    But a woman's heart and a woman's life 
        Are not to be won that way.

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