A Father of Women
Ad Sororem E.B.
“Thy father was transused into they blood.”
Dryden: Ode to Mrs. Anne Killigrew.
      Our father works in us,
The daughters of his manhood. Not undone
Is he, not wasted, though transmuted thus,
      And though he left no son.
      Therefore on him I cry
To arm me: “For my delicate mind a casque,
A breastplate for my heart, courage to die,
      Of thee, captain, I ask.
      “Nor strengthen only; press
A finger on this violent blood and pale,
Over this rash will let thy tenderness
      A while pause, and prevail.
      “And shepherd-father, thou
Whose staff folded my thoughts before my birth,
Control them now I am of earth, and now
      Thou art no more of earth.
      “O liberal, constant, dear,
Crush in my nature the ungenerous art
Of the inferior; set me high, and here,
      Here garner up thy heart!”
      Like to him now are they,
The million living fathers of the War—
Mourning the crippled world, the bitter day—
      Whose striplings are no more.
      The crippled world! Come then,
Fathers of women with your honour in trust;
Approve, accept, know them daughters of men,
      Now that your sons are dust.

Webpage © 2001 ELC
Lane Core Jr. (lane@elcore.net)
Created April 9, 2001; not revised.