Women are people!/Section 3

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Love Sonnets of an Anti-Suffragist



Mabel, my love burns with this flame intense,
Not for your beauty, though I find you fair,
Not for your charming lack of common sense,
Not for your ignorance, beyond compare.
I love you, not because I think your mind
Is empty as a flawless cup of glass,
Not for the fascination that I find
Hearing you talking like a perfect ass.
No, but because with you, as in a dream,
I seem a giant, dominant and strong,
As in real life I very seldom seem,
Or only after effort hard and long,
But you admire everything I do,
And all I say you greet with, "Oh, how true!"



I praise you, Mabel, that your woman's heart
Is all untouched by tales of woe and crime,
And that you have no wish to bear your part
In curing any evil of the time.
I bless you that you are so unaware
Of infant children labouring in our mills,
And that you really do not seem to care
For other women's injuries and ills.
I love you when they tell you ugly things
Of death and poverty about your door,
You fold your hands with all their flashing rings,
Fixing on me the eyes that I adore,
And say in accents like a silver bell:
"What matter, Ferdinand, if you are well!"



Come, Mabel, let us spend a pleasant hour
Telling what silly creatures women are.
Will not that be delectable, my Flower,
My Angel-Princess, Queen and Guiding Star?
Come, let us two Olympians be gay,
Jesting about your sex's lack of truth,
Their cowardice, their vanity, the way
They cling, though agéd, to the garb of youth;
Their mental powers, charming, but absurd;
Their inability to do or plan;
And then, my darling, you may say your word
In praise of that supreme creation, Man.
What's that you say? That not all men are great?
Your thought, my Mabel, savours of sex-hate.



O, Mabel, you have wounded me beyond
All words—have dimmed our love's initial splendour;
I, who had thought you faithful, reverent, fond,
Am filled with doubts of your complete surrender.
Last evening when the argent car of night
Went up the sky with many a starry minion,
You, without asking me if you were right,
Expressed a clear, impersonal opinion,
A judgment, a belief, an abstract thought;
And though I frowned and held myself aloof,
And murmured sternly: "Nothing of the sort,"
You did not seem to notice the reproof.
O, Mabel, cease to think, or how can we
Be certain we shall never disagree?



How sweet and womanly to me you seemed
When first we met in that old silent house,
And suddenly you clung to me and screamed,
Your tender heart affrighted by a mouse.
But when to-day, afar, I saw you pass,
Walking with one I never fancied much,
And when you found a serpent in the grass,
And caught his hand with that same frantic clutch,
And did not shrink from his protecting arm,
Which instantly about your shoulder stole,
I, in my heart, exclaimed: "This is not charm!
This is the merest lack of self-control!"
O, Mabel, learn to mitigate your fear—
At least when any other man is near!



A woman's highest power is to please,
Thus does she rule the kingdom of the soul.
Beauty, charm, grace—when Heaven gave her these
It gave her Life's full, absolute control.
All forms of force are impotent and crude
Compared to this, which bends us to her whim.
Mabel, there is no man so vile and rude
But woman's tender grace may tutor him.
But now, my darling, use not any more
This power of yours on any other men—
Not on that sleek and handsome Senator
To whom you talked from eight till half-past ten.
Use it on me, my love, and you will find
How hard it is to change a strong man's mind.

Impressions at a Recent Anti Meeting

One Male Speaker.A Chorus of Lady-Antis.

Speaker: I am cleverer than you.
Chorus: Very true, very true.
Speaker: I am braver, too, by far.
Chorus: So you are, so you are.
Speaker: I can use my mind a lot.
Chorus: We cannot, we cannot.
Speaker: Men adore your lack of mind.
Chorus: Oh, how kind; oh, how kind!
Speaker: You do very well without.
Chorus: Not a doubt, not a doubt.
Speaker: You have hardly any sense.
Chorus: What eloquence, what eloquence!
Speaker: Yet your moral sense is weaker.
Chorus: Isn't he a charming speaker!

The Anti Speaks

In the subway I have never stood a minute,
I have never clung an instant to a strap;
As I enter any train, each man who's in it
Springs, like Galahad awaking from a nap,
And exclaims with hat in hand:
"I can't bear to see you stand;
If you voted, though, I shouldn't care a rap."

O you women who have never stood in trolleys
(And I speak to every woman in this state)
If you don't forego these wild and wicked follies,
You'll be very, very sorry, but too late;
Men, disgusted at your capers,
Will sit still and read their papers,
And you'll have to stand in trolleys. What a fate!

For myself, my only means of locomotion
Is my motor, which conveys me near and far,

But I talk with men I know, and get a notion,
From their logical account, just how things are;
And they say if women voted
Dreadful changes would be noted—
Men might even let us stand up in a car!

The Happy Obstructionist

"Oh, no, I don't approve of giving women the vote.
Women," he said, "are something divine, apart,
Something mysterious, precious, fair and remote,
Caring for nothing but love, religion and art."

"But women are really not like that," said I.
"I like to think of them so," was his reply.

"I like to think of the mother, serene, at ease,
Living her life in a sunny, vine-clad cot,
Drawing her happy babies about her knees,
Teaching them love—for that is a mother's lot."

"But very few mothers can live like that," said I.
"But I like to picture them thus," was his reply.

"Think of the women," I said, "who suffer and toil,
Of her without beauty or love, not mother or wife."
"Hush, hush," he answered, "why do you want to spoil
The vision, the joy, the whole romance of life!"

"But truth has its own romance and joy," said I.
"I like my fancies better," was his reply.


(According to the New York Board of Education)


Oh, the tragedy, the pity!
Oh, the things that women do!
There's a rumour in the city,
But we hope it isn't true;
There's a scandal has been carried,
And the clubs are whispering
That a teacher has been married—
Isn't that a shocking thing?

Marriage in our estimation
For a man is not a crime,
And the Board of Education
Will not dock his pay or time;
But a woman is a lily;
Marriage is not in her line;
For an act so weak and silly
We must ask her to resign.

A Politician to the Ladies

Please go away. I am so very tired;
My working day is long;
I try to do the job for which I'm hired.
Alas! I am not strong.

I've seen so many men to-day, requesting
So many things to do:
And now you come, just as I might be resting,
And want to see me, too.

Ladies, I don't approve of suffrage, really
(Though it may come at length);
Women must base their hopes of progress merely
On Man's heroic strength!

Antis We Have Known


An anti, fair and apparently tender,
Sat with her feet on her own brass fender;
Safe as a human life can be
From want and suffering, so safe was she,
Safe by money and social position,
By love and learning and sound tradition;
Never a stroke of work had she done,
Never a dollar earned or won,
Her children in school, and her husband gone
To his office, she sat by her fire alone
With time to read the election news,
And found it exactly met her views.
She was glad the women had been defeated,
That was the way they ought to be treated;
Glad that women who toiled all day
Were not to be equals in any way;
Glad that women she passed in the street
Couldn't in any way compete;
Glad, since wisdom and wealth and power
Guarded her children every hour,

To know that tenement mothers and wives
Couldn't help guard their children's lives;
Glad since everything suited her
That other women should stay as they were.
Which shows that being secure, apart,
Petted and sheltered by every art,
Doesn't develop the human heart.

November 4, 1915.


"My principal reason against it," said he,
"Is that women don't want it, as far as I see."

"O Father," his daughter exclaimed, "is that true?
You know that I want it, and Mother does, too."

He smiled with omniscience peculiar to him:
"My darling," he said, "that is only a whim."

"But it isn't a whim," she replied, "in Miss Hays,

Who writes all your letters. You frequently praise
Her poise and good sense; well, she wants it, she says."

"Do you think that her judgment or mine is the ripest?"
He asked. "Must I learn how to vote from my typist?"

"Well, then," she went on, "all the teachers at school
Are for it."

He laughed. "I have found as a rule
That all of the unmarried women I've known
Want nothing so much as a home of their own;
If all of your teachers were married, you'd note
A striking decrease in their wish for the vote."

"Many teachers are married," she started to say,
But he begged she would not contradict in that way.

"You're growing," he said, "both aggressive and vain.
I think we won't mention this subject again."

That night at the club they were speaking of It,
And he said that he wasn't opposed—not a bit.

"It is true I am voting against it," said he;
"But the women I know do not want it, you see."


"I love my home," the Anti said,
"I crave no interests in its stead.
You think that foolish, I dare say—
Yes—I'm peculiar, in a way,
And so I must admit I do
Adore my home and children, too.
And, oh, I love my husband, though
You suffragists will sneer, I know.
I am not clever, and I fear
I do not make my meaning clear,
But what I'm trying to express
Is this: I love my home. Confess,
You think it very crude and silly
To love my little tots and Billy,
But yet I do—I think I ought—
I wonder if you catch my thought?"

Her Representative

"I represent my wife," he said;
"I really cannot see
How she would profit by the vote;
I vote for her and me.
And men consider—Time has shown—
Their wives' opinions like their own.

"If my wife voted she would vote
For many silly measures,
Which do not add in any way
To profits or to pleasures;
Like Widows' Pensions, Equal Pay,
More schools, and an eight-hour day.

"On Woman Suffrage I vote no;
Perhaps you had not heard
My wife believes in that as well;
How wicked and absurd!
Oh, let us save domestic strife,
And let me represent my wife!"

A Son to His Anti-Suffrage Mother

Mother, dear mother, how could you deceive me!
Where shall I find consolation and balm?
"Willie," you always have taught me, "believe me,
Women who vote never have any charm."

Out of the West came a beautiful stranger;
Fast beat my heart, but I felt no alarm;
Why should I fear an impossible danger?
Stella had voted—she couldn't have charm.

Much of my time at her side I expended,
Trying to teach her a woman's true place.
Sometimes she yawned, twice or thrice was offended.
Once, I assure you, she laughed in my face.

Stella has plighted her word to another;
Told me the news with the cruellest calm,
Added: "There, Willie, run home to your mother;
Tell her that Cave Men are losing their charm."


Recollection of Anti-Suffrage Speeches Heard in Early Childhood

(With apologies to W. W.)

Admit at the beginning
That woman is no good.
You find that very winning?
Ah, yes; I thought you would.


There was a time when platform, stage and hall,
Speeches, at least in public view,
Did me appal;
They were to me taboo,
Not woman's sphere at all.
It is not now as once it was; I roam
Where'er I may
By night or day,
To preach to Man that Woman's place is home.


The fashion comes and goes,
As everybody knows;
Feathers on a last year's hat
Are raggedy to wear;
The white, or lemon, spat
Is beautiful and fair;
Large plaids are not refined;
It's clear to me—and you agree—
That these are tasks enough for woman's mind.


The vote is but a fraud and a deception;
The way to get our will, the way to win
Is not at an election,
But darkly, with a grin.
Not quite without protection,
Not in complete subjection,
But armed with charms superlative we come
To each secluded home.
Thanks to the votes we are too good to cast,
Thanks to the news we have not read for years,
We all assume that every law that's passed
Is due to our unshed, but potent, tears.

To the Anti-Campaigners

Antis, for Wilson so gladly campaigning,
Antis campaigning so gaily for Hughes,
Would you object very much to explaining
What in the world are your views?

You whose conviction could never be shaken:
Voting incited a woman to roam;
Do I not see you—or am I mistaken—
Voteless, but far from the home?

Woman's inferior, so you insisted;
Over her faults and her failings you gloat.
Haven't you got things a little bit twisted,
Teaching these men how to vote?

You, who have told them their wives and their mothers
Had not political wisdom, you knew;
Why should they think you more wise than the others?
Why should they listen to you?