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The Empire of Woman (5)
#1
The Empire of Woman

I. Woman's Empire Defined

The outward world, for rugged toil designed,
Where Evil from true Good the crown hath riven,
Hath been to men's dominion ever given;
But woman's empire, holier, more refined,
Moulds, moves, and sways the fallen yet God-breathed mind,
Lifting the earth-crushed heart to hope and heaven.
As plants put forth to summer's gentle wind,
And 'neath the sweet, soft light of starry even,
Those treasures which the tyrant winter's sway
Could never wrest from nature,--so the soul
Will woman's sweet and tender power obey;
Thus doth her summer smile its strength control;
Her love sows flowers along life's thorny way;
Her star-bright faith leads up towards heaven's goal.


II. The Daughter

The iron cares that press strong manhood down
A father can, like school-boy tasks, throw by,
When gazing in his daughter’s eye,
Her soft arms, like a spell, around him thrown:

And passions that, like Upas-leaves, have grown
Most deadly in dark places, which defy
Earth, Heaven, and human will, even these were shown
All powerless to resist the pleading cry

Which pierced a savage but a father’s ear,
And shook a soul where pity’s pulse seemed dead,
When Pocahontas, heeding not the fear

That daunted boldest warriors, laid her head
Beside the doomed! Now with our country’s fame,
Sweet forest daughter! we have blend thy name.


III. The Sister

Wild a a colt, o’er prairies bounding free,
The wakening spirit of the boy doth spring,
Spurning the rein Authority would fling,
And striving with his peers for mastery:

But in the household gathering let him see
His sister’s gentle smile, and it will bring
A change o’er all his nature; patiently,
As cagéd bird that never used its wing,

He turns him to the tasks that she doth share;
His better passions kindle by her side;
Visions of angel beauty haunt the air:

May she not summon such to be his guide?
Our Saviour listened to a sister’s prayer,
When “Lazarus, from the tomb come forth!” he cried.


IV. The Wife

The daughter from her father’s bosom goes;
The sister drops her brother’s clasping hand;
For God himself ordained a holier band
Than kindred blood on human minds bestrows.

That stronger, deeper, dearer tie she knows,
The heart-wed wife; as heaven by rainbow spanned,
Thus bright with hope life’s path before her glows; -
Proves it like mirage on the desert’s sand?

Still in her soul the light divine remains;
And if her husband’s strength be overborne
By sorrow, sickness, or the felon’s chains,

Such as by England’s noblest son were worn,
Unheeling how her own poor heart is torn,
She, angel-like, his sinking soul sustains.


V. The Mother

Earth held no symbol, had no living sign
To image forth the mother’s deathless love;
And so the tender care the righteous prove
Beneath the ever-watching Eye Divine

Was given as type to show how pure a shrine
The mother’s heart was hallowed from above;
And how her mortal hopes must intertwine
With hopes immortal; - and she may not move

From this high station which our Saviour sealed
When in maternal arms he lay revealed.
O, wondrous power and little understood,

Intrusted to the mother’s mind alone,
To fashion genius, form the soul for good,
Inspire a Wirt, or train a Washington!
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