Verse > Anthologies > J. C. Squire, ed. > A Book of Women’s Verse
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J. C. Squire, ed.  A Book of Women’s Verse.  1921.
 
Chorus from ‘Mariam’
By Lady Elizabeth Carew (fl. 1613)
 
’TIS not enough for one that is a wife
  To keep her spotless from an act of ill;
But from suspicion she should free her life,
  And bare herself of power as well as will,
’Tis not so glorious for her to be free,        5
As by her proper self restrain’d to be.
 
When she hath spacious ground to walk upon,
  Why on the ridge should she desire to go?
It is no glory to forbear alone
  Those things that may her honour overthrow:        10
But ’tis thankworthy, if she will not take
All lawful liberties for honour’s sake.
 
That wife her hand against her fame doth rear,
  That more than to her lord alone will give
A private word to any second ear;        15
  And though she may with reputation live,
Yet tho’ most chaste, she doth her glory blot,
And wounds her honour, tho’ she kills it not.
 
When to their husbands they themselves do bind,
  Do they not wholly give themselves away?        20
Or give they but their body, not their mind,
  Reserving that, tho’ best, for others’ prey?
No, sure, their thought no more can be their own,
And therefore should to none but one be known.
 
Then she usurps upon another’s right,        25
  That seeks to be by public language grac’d;
And tho’ her thoughts reflect with purest light
  Her mind, if not peculiar, is not chaste.
For in a wife it is no worse to find
A common body, than a common mind.        30
 
 
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