The Faults of Woman Kind

Miss Porden

Innumerous are the grains of sand
That shine on ocean’s barren strand
Innumerous are the drops of rain
Which April showers upon the plain
Innumerous are the flowers that spread
When spring commands th’ enamelled mead
But more innumerous still we find
The faults that lurk in woman kind.

Inconstant is the changing moon
Now waxing fast, but waning soon
Inconstant is the wind that blows
From every aire nor knows repose
Th’inconstant waves each moment change
Their forms as o’er the shores they range
But more inconstant still we find
The wav’ring race of woman kind.

Of nature’s sevenfold colours vain
The gaudy peacock struts the plain
Vain of his form his strength his speed
Pawing the ground we view the steed
Vain of its whiteness — ere it stain
Its fur, the ermine will be slain
But of their charms more vain we find
Than these the race of woman kind.

The wily lapwing will delude
With lameness feign’d to save her brood
The serpent is renown’d for wiles
And poison lurks beneath his smiles
Too weak by force to seize his prey
Sly Reynard flatters to betray
But more insidious still we find
The wily race of woman kind.

With headlong rage and ceaseless force
The impetuous torrent holds its course
Nor trees nor rocks obstructs its way
It tears them from their beds away
Holds unrestrained its dreadful reign
And thunders o’er the wasted plain
Alas more loud, more strong we find
Th’unceasing tongues of woman kind.

Envious of others brighter charms
Th’midnight bat presages harms
And envious of our present good
The raven as he roams for food
Or watches in his lonely home
Gives omens dire of ills to come
But still more envious do we find
The dangerous race of woman kind.

But endless were the task to sing
The faults in woman kind that spring
E’en now their slanderous tongues I fear
And must their cruelty beware
The bard who dares their rage await
May chance to meet with Orpheus’ fate
For than Charybdis still we find
More fell the race of woman kind.

Yet sure Thalestris’ warlike arm
Would well defend the bard from harm
Who all the sex’s vengeance dar’d
To gain her favour’s blest reward
Nay her perfections might reverse
This way the burthen of my verse
More numerous than their faults we find
The virtues of the female kind.

For sure Thalestris merits high
Should save her sex from obloquy
Since in herself we view combin’d
Perfections of each varying kind
Each science and each art that decks
The colder and the softer sex
But ah, too seldom do we find
Like her the race of woman kind.