[Page 293]



"To a Woman I never addressed myself in the language of decency and friendship, without receiving a decent and friendly answer. If I was hungry or thirsty, wet or sick, they did not hesitate, like Men, to perform a generous action: in so free and kind a manner did they contribute to my relief, that if I was dry, I drank the sweetest draught; and if hungry, I ate the coarsest morsel with a double relish."

1 Place the white man on Afric's coast,
2 Whose swarthy sons in blood delight,
3 Who of their scorn to Europe boast,
4 And paint their very demons white:
5 There, while the sterner sex disdains
6 To soothe the woes they cannot feel,
7 Woman will strive to heal his pains,
8 And weep for those she cannot heal:
9 Hers is warm pity's sacred glow;
10 From all her stores, she bears a part,
11 And bids the spring of hope re-flow,
12 That languish'd in the fainting heart.
[Page 294]
13 "What though so pale his haggard face,
14 " So sunk and sad his looks, " she cries;
15 " And far unlike our nobler race,
16 "With crisped locks and rolling eyes;
17 " Yet misery marks him of our kind.
18 "We see him lost, alone, afraid;
19 " And pangs of body, griefs in mind,
20 "Pronounce him man, and ask our aid.
21 "Perhaps in some far-distant shore,
22 " There are who in these forms delight;
23 "Whose milky features please them more,
24 " Than ours of jet thus burnish'd bright;
25 "Of such may be his weeping wife,
26 " Such children for their sire may call,
27 "And if we spare his ebbing life,
28 " Our kindness may preserve them all. "
29 Thus her compassion Woman shows,
30 Beneath the line her acts are these;
31 Nor the wide waste of Lapland-snows
32 Can her warm flow of pity freeze:
33 "From some sad land the stranger comes,
34 " Where joys like ours are never found;
35 "Let's soothe him in our happy homes,
36 " Where freedom sits, with plenty crown'd.
37 "'T is good the fainting soul to cheer,
38 " To see the famish'd stranger fed;
39 "To milk for him the mother-deer,
40 " To smooth for him the furry bed.
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41 "The powers above our Lapland bless
42 " With good no other people know;
43 "T' enlarge the joys that we possess,
44 " By feeling those that we bestow! "
45 Thus in extremes of cold and heat,
46 Where wandering man may trace his kind;
47 Wherever grief and want retreat,
48 In Woman they compassion find;
49 She makes the female breast her seat,
50 And dictates mercy to the mind.
51 Man may the sterner virtues know,
52 Determined justice, truth severe;
53 But female hearts with pity glow,
54 And Woman holds affliction dear;
55 For guiltless woes her sorrows flow,
56 And suffering vice compels her tear;
57 'T is hers to soothe the ills below,
58 And bid life's fairer views appear:
59 To Woman's gentle kind we owe
60 What comforts and delights us here;
61 They its gay hopes on youth bestow,
62 And care they soothe, and age they cheer.


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About this text

Author: George Crabbe
Themes: female character

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Crabbe, George, 1754-1832. The Poetical Works of the Rev. George Crabbe: with his letters and journals, and his life, by his son. In eight volumes. Vol. II. [poems only] London: John Murray, Albemarle Street. MDCCCXXXVIII., 1838, pp. 293-295. 8 volumes. (Page images digitized from a copy in the Bodleian Library [Dunston B 650 (2)].)

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