From Incognita To 1810

Miss Flaxman

“That female virtues great and small
So infinitely many
Are all compris’d within the space
Of one small silver penny!”

Can this be deem’d a riddle, Sir, by you
A thing so evident, so plain, so true!
Only Sir Knight bear this plain fact in mind
That “Female Virtues” are of softer kind
Their likeness here to Indian Goods you trace
Those of the finest texture take the smallest space!
You hint ’tis on the needle’s point
That female virtues shine —
Most true, for still the needle is
Of Constancy the sign!
And that’s a female virtue Sir
The Women all agree,
Some Men indeed have doubted it —
What incredulity!
To prove to you that I’m no slave
To custom when absurd —
My sex’s privilege I waive
I wish not the last word!