Bayard Taylor image

Bayard Taylor

Jan. 11, 1825 - Dec 19, 1878


A Woman

by Bayard Taylor


She is a woman: therefore, I a man,
In so much as I love her. Could I more,
Then I were more a man. Our natures ran
Together, brimming full, not flooding o'er
The banks of life, and evermore will run
In one full stream until our days are done.


She is a woman, but of spirit brave
To bear the loss of girlhood's giddy dreams;
The regal mistress, not the yielding slave
Of her ideal, spurning that which seems
For that which is, and, as her fancies fall,
Smiling: the truth of love outweighs them alL


She looks through life, and with a balance just
Weighs men and things, beholding as they are
The lives of others: in the common dust
She finds the fragments of the ruined star:
Proud, with a pride all feminine and sweet,
No path can soil the whiteness of her feet.


The steady candor of her gentle eyes
Strikes dead deceit, laughs vanity away;
She hath no room for petty jealousies,
Where Faith and Love divide their tender sway.
Of either sex she owns the nobler part:
Man's honest brow and woman's faithful heart.


She is a woman, who, if Love were guide,
Would climb to power, or in obscure content
Sit down: accepting fate with changeless pride, --
A reed in calm, in storm a staff unbent:
No pretty plaything, ignorant of life,
But Man's true mother, and his equal wife.


The Poet's Journal
Copyright 1863
Ticknor and Fields, Boston