March 08, 2010

To Some Women

For your poise, elegance and grace; for your indefatigability in the face of repression; for your sober reasoning; for your compassion, sympathy and spirit; for your independence; for your knowledge of when to be demure, and when to be defiant; for your infinite complexity – trusting that you will recognise yourself among those included hereby – I salute you!

Whatever International Women’s Day means, and I cannot seem to find an acceptable harmony of approach between those nations that celebrate it, I trust that you will make the best of it.


  1. I only read domestic editions of Women's Day, so I believe I'm disqualified from your praise. Great magazine, though.


  2. I doubt your disqualification. And I should have included modesty in the list.

  3. From Edmund Spenser's Epithalamion

    Tell me, ye merchants daughters, did ye see
    So fayre a creature in your towne before;
    So sweet, so lovely, and so mild as she,
    Adornd with beautyes grace and vertues store?
    Her goodly eyes lyke Saphyres shining bright,
    Her forehead yvory white,
    Her cheekes lyke apples which the sun hath rudded,
    Her lips lyke cherryes charming men to byte,
    Her brest like to a bowle of creame uncrudded,
    Her paps lyke lyllies budded,
    Her snowie necke lyke to a marble towre;
    And all her body like a pallace fayre,
    Ascending up, with many a stately stayre,
    To honors seat and chastities sweet bowre.
    Why stand ye still ye virgins in amaze,
    Upon her so to gaze,
    Whiles ye forget your former lay to sing,
    To which the woods did answer, and your eccho ring?

    But if ye saw that which no eyes can see,
    The inward beauty of her lively spright,
    Garnisht with heavenly guifts of high degree,
    Much more then would ye wonder at that sight,
    And stand astonisht lyke to those which red
    Medusaes mazeful hed.
    There dwels sweet love, and constant chastity,
    Unspotted fayth, and comely womanhood,
    Regard of honour, and mild modesty;
    There vertue raynes as Queene in royal throne,
    And giveth lawes alone,
    The which the base affections doe obay,
    And yeeld theyr services unto her will;
    Ne thought of thing uncomely ever may
    Thereto approch to tempt her mind to ill.
    Had ye once seene these her celestial threasures,
    And unrevealed pleasures,
    Then would ye wonder, and her prayses sing,
    That al the woods should answer, and your echo ring.

    Open the temple gates unto my love,
    Open them wide that she may enter in,
    And all the postes adorne as doth behove,
    And all the pillours deck with girlands trim,
    For to receyve this Saynt with honour dew,
    That commeth in to you.
    With trembling steps, and humble reverence,
    She commeth in, before th' Almighties view;
    Of her ye virgins learne obedience,
    When so ye come into those holy places,
    To humble your proud faces:
    Bring her up to th' high altar, that she may
    The sacred ceremonies there partake,
    The which do endlesse matrimony make;
    And let the roring Organs loudly play
    The praises of the Lord in lively notes;
    The whiles, with hollow throates,
    The Choristers the joyous Antheme sing,
    That al the woods may answere, and their eccho ring.


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