What though the noble lord of this fair hall
Declines the combat as an idle brawl!
Of female tongues and pens alike afraid
He slights the challenge of the martial maid!
Shall lady’s gauntlet then unheeded lie
Shall gallant knight from gentle lady fly?
No, by St. George! I here throw down my gage
And with Thalestris self the war I’ll wage!
That ladies have their faults must be allow’d,
Which sometimes peep from ’midst the brilliant crowd —
Of them fair Virtues, and each small defect
Adds brightness to the whole, and give effect!
I know ye all my lovely dames, so well,
That every trivial blemish I could tell!
But the most prominent I needs must say
Is woman’s love of universal sway!!
If I might venture to approach so near
To whisper softly in the fair-one’s ear,
This, I would tell him, and her known good sense
Would soon convince her I meant no offence
That while the Laurel shades the Hero’s brow
Won by his prowess in the warlike field,
Far sweeter triumphs doth the female know
Who conquers most, when most, she seems to yield!
The Gauntlet taken up