Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Misogynist

I offer this poem, written by Austin Dobson in 1874, as a token of solidarity with today's Women's March on Washington, and in cities all around the world. It is a message for all those Americans who voted to elect the 45th President of the United States of America.





THE MISOGYNIST


When first he sought our haunts, he wore
His locks in Hamlet-style ;
His brow with thought was 'sicklied o'er,'–
We rarely saw him smile ;
And e'en when none was looking on,
His air was always woe-begone.

He kept, I think, his bosom bare
To imitate Jean Paul ;
His solitary topics were
Æsthetics, Fate , and Soul ;–
Although at times, but not for long,
He bowed his Intellect to song.


He served, he said, a Muse of Tears :
I know his verses breathed
A fine funereal air of biers,
And objects cypress-wreathed ;–
Indeed, his tried acquaintance fled
An ode he named 'The Sheeted Dead.'


In these light moods, I call to mind,
He darkly would allude
To some dread sorrow undefined,–
Some passion unsubdued ;
Then break into a ghastly laugh,
And talk of Keats his epitaph.


He railed at women's faith as Cant ;
We thought him grandest when
He named them Siren-shapes then 'chant
On blanching bones of Men' ;–
Alas, not e'en the great go free
From that insidious minstrelsy !


His lot, he oft would gravely urge,
Lay on a lone Rock where
Around Time-beaten bases surge
The Billows of Despair.
We dreamed it true. We never knew
What gentler ears he told it to.


We, bound with him in common care,
One-minded, celibate,
Resolved to Thought and Diet spare
Our lives to dedicate ;–
We, truly in no common sense,
Deserved his closest confidence !


But soon, and yet, though soon, too late,
We, sorrowing, sighed to find
A gradual softness enervate
That all superior mind,
Until,–in full assembly met,
He dared to speak of Etiquette.


The verse that we severe had known,
Assumed a wanton air,–
A fond effeminate monotone
Of eyebrows, lips, and hair ;
He read 'The Angel in the House' !


Nay worse. He, once sublime to chaff,
Grew ludicrously sore
If we but named a photograph
We found him simpering o'er ;
Or told how in his chambers lurked
a watch-guard intricately worked.


Then worse again. He tried to dress ;
He trimmed his tragic mane ;
Announcing at length (to our distress)
He had not 'lived in vain' ;–
Thenceforth his one prevailing mood
Became a base beatitude.


And O Jean Paul, and Fate,, and Soul !
We met him last, grown stout,
His throat with wedlock's triple roll,
'All wool,' enwound about ;
HIs very hat had changed its brim ;–
Our course was clear,––WE BANISHED HIM !









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