Address to Woman. From the Italian by Anna Seward

1710 - 1810 (c.)

[From “Poetical Works of Anna Seward, Vol 2”]



Designed for peace and soft delight,
For tender love, and pity mild,
O seek not thou the craggy height,
The howling main, the desert wild!

Stay in the shelter’d valley low,
Where calmly blows the fragrant air,
But shun the mountain’s stormy brow,
For darken’d winds are raging there.

The ruffian MAN endures the strife
Of tempests fierce, and furious seas;
Ah! better guard thy transient life,
WOMAN, thou rosy child of ease!


Rash MAN, for glory’s fading wreath,
Provokes his early, timeless doom,
Seeks every varied form of death,
And desperate hastens to the tomb;

But thou, O Gentlest! what can rend?
With cruel grief, thy panting heart?
Nor Heaven, nor Man, dost thou offend,
What fancied woes can dread impart?

Ah! surely, on thy primal day,
Great Nature smil’d in kindest mood,
Suspended held the bloody fray,
And hush’d the wind, and smooth’d the flood!

While Man, who lives a life of pain,
Was with a soul vindictive born,
Loud winds blew round him, and the rain
Beat furious on his wintry morn.

But thou, beneath a vernal sky,
What distant tempest wakes they fears?

l.7. Thou offend – Indeed! What never? The Italian poet flatters a little, it must be granted – his translator owns it – nor will the lordly sex assert that female woes are always imaginary.


Why does that soft, that trembling eye
Gleam through a crystal film of tears?
Stay in the vale; – no wild affright
Shall cross thy path, nor sullen care
But go not to craggy height,
The dark, loud winds are raging there!

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Image courtesy of: Birmingham Central Library
Donor ref: D821.69 SEW