Lines to Mr. Bowdle of Ohio

(“The women of this smart capital are beautiful. Their beauty is disturbing to business; their feet are beautiful, their ankles are beautiful, but here I must pause.”—Mr. Bowdle’s anti-suffrage speech in Congress, January 12, 1915.)

You, who despise the so-called fairer sex,
    Be brave.    There really isn’t any reason
You should not, if you wish, oppose and vex
    And scold us in, and even out of season;
But don’t regard it as your bounden duty
To open with a tribute to our beauty.

Say if you like that women have no sense,
    No self-control, no power of concentration;
Say that hysterics is our one defence
    Our virtue but an absence of temptation;
These I can bear, but, oh, I own it rankles
To hear you maundering on about our ankles.

Tell those old stories, which have now and then
    Been from the Record thoughtfully deleted,
Repeat that favorite one about the hen,
    Repeat the ones that cannot be repeated;
But in the midst of such enjoymens, smother
The impulse to extol your “sainted mother.”


This poem is in the public domain.