To the Coy Men

Had we but world enough knowledge and time,

A man’s ignorance would be a crime.

You would dismiss, and think a way

To punish, and ban the cat calls away.

Thou by the New York City street side

Shouldst rude males find; I by taxi rides

Of billboards would complain. You should

be loved with proper respect,

And he must, if you please, end

His behavior and set his life straight.

Then he should grow

Past his rudeness and his lows;

An hundred years should go to praise

Thine eyes, and on thy appropriate gaze;

Two hundred to adore no breast,

And neither will observe the rest;

An age at least to will keep part,

And the last age should be kind from the heart.

For, ladies, we deserve this state,

We shall not be loved at lower rate.

       But at my back I always hear

Time’s wingèd chariot hurrying near;

And yonder if we’ll turn back time to

A world of inequality.

Thy superficiality shall no more be found;

Than through looks and superficial sound

My begging voice; I beg you preserve

An equal community,

And his quaint honour turn to dust,

And into ashes all their lust;

The grave’s a fine and private place,

But none do there embrace.

       Now therefore, while the time is short

Begin your mission with female cohort,

And while thy willing soul transpires

At every pore with instant fires,

Now let us sport us while we may,

And now, we stop amorous birds of prey,

All ladies together with their power

Overcome his unfair power.

Let us roll all our strength and all

Our dignity up into one ball,

And all together make a stop

Put up the iron gates of life:

Until we see things right

Us ladies we will fight.


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