The Female of the Species

WHEN the Himalayan peasant meets the he-bear in his pride,
He shouts to scare the monster who will often turn aside.
But the she-bear thus accosted rends the peasant tooth and nail,
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

When Nag, the wayside cobra, hears the careless foot of man,
He will sometimes wriggle sideways and avoid it if he can,
But his mate makes no such motion where she camps beside the trail -
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

When the early Jesuit fathers preached to Hurons and Choctaws,
They prayed to be delivered from the vengeance of the squaws -
'Twas the women, not the warriors, turned those stark enthusiasts pale -
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

Man's timid heart is bursting with the things he must not say,
For the Woman that God gave him isn't his to give away;
But when hunter meets with husband, each confirms the others tale -
The female of the species is more deadly than the male.

Man, a bear in most relations, worm and savage otherwise,
Man propounds negotiations, Man accepts the compromise;
Very rarely will he squarely push the logic of a fact
To its ultimate conclusion in unmitigated act.

Fear, or foolishness, impels him, ere he lay the wicked low,
To concede some form of trial even to his fiercest foe.
Mirth obscene diverts his anger; Doubt and Pity oft perplex
Him in dealing with an issue - to the scandal of the Sex!

But the Woman that God gave him, every fibre of her frame
Proves her launched for one sole issue, armed and engined for the same,
And to serve that single issue, lest the generations fail,
The female of the species must be deadlier than the male.

She who faces Death by torture for each life beneath her breast
May not deal in doubt or pity - must not swerve for fact or jest.
These be purely male diversions - not in these her honor dwells -
She, the Other Law we live by, is that Law and nothing else!

She can bring no more to living than the powers that make her great
As the Mother of the Infant and the Mistress of the Mate;
And when Babe and Man are lacking and she strides unclaimed to claim
Her right as femme (and baron), her equipment is the same.

She is wedded to convictions - in default of grosser ties;
Her contentions are her children, Heaven help him, who denies!
He will meet no cool discussion, but the instant, white-hot wild
Wakened female of the species warring as for spouse and child.

Unprovoked and awful charges - even so the she-bear fights;
Speech that drips, corrodes and poisons - even so the cobra bites;
Scientific vivisection of one nerve till it is raw,
And the victim writhes with anguish - like the Jesuit with the squaw!

So it comes that Man, the coward, when he gathers to confer
With his fellow-braves in council, dare not leave a place for her
Where, at war with Life and Conscience, he uplifts his erring hands
To some God of abstract justice - which no woman understands.

And Man knows it! Knows, moreover, that the Woman that God gave him
Must command but may not govern; shall enthrall but not enslave him.
And She knows, because She warns him and Her instincts never fail,
That the female of Her species is more deadly than the male!

 The Vampire

A FOOL there was and he made his prayer
(Even as you or I!)
To a rag and a bone and a hank of hair,
(We called her the woman who did not care),
But the fool he called her his lady fair--
(Even as you or I!)

Oh, the years we waste and the tears we waste,
And the work of our head and hand
Belong to the woman who did not know
(And now we know that she never could know)
And did not understand!

A fool there was and his goods he spent,
(Even as you or I!)
Honour and faith and a sure intent
(And it wasn't the least what the lady meant),
But a fool must follow his natural bent
(Even as you or I!)

Oh, the toil we lost and the spoil we lost
And the excellent things we planned
Belong to the woman who didn't know why
(And now we know that she never knew why)
And did not understand!

The fool was stripped to his foolish hide,
(Even as you or I!)
Which she might have seen when she threw him aside--
(But it isn't on record the lady tried)
So some of him lived but the most of him died--
(Even as you or I!)

``And it isn't the shame and it isn't the blame
That stings like a white-hot brand--
It's coming to know that she never knew why
(Seeing, at last, she could never know why)
And never could understand!''

The Ladies

I've taken me fun where I found it;
I've roamed and I've ranged in my time;
I've 'ad me pick o' the sweethearts,
And four of the lot were prime.
One was an 'arf-caste widow,
One was a woman at Prome,
One was the wife of a jemadar-sais
An' one was a girl at home.

Now I aren't no 'and with the ladies,
For, takin' 'em all along,
You never can say 'til you've tried 'em,
An' then you are like to be wrong.
There's times when you'll think that you mightn't,
There's times when you know that you might;
But the things that you'll learn from the Yellow an' Brown,
They'll 'elp you a lot with the White!

I was a young 'un at 'Oogli,
Shy as a girl to begin;
But Aggie de Castro she made me,
For Aggie was clever as sin;
Older than me, but me first 'un--
More like a mother she were--
But she showed me the way to promotion an' pay,
An' I learned about women from 'er!

Then I was ordered to Burma,
Actin' in charge of Bazaar,
An' I got me a tidy live 'eathen
Through buyin' supplies from her pa.
Funny and yellow and faithful--
Doll in a teacup she were--
But we lived on the square, like a true married pair,
An' I learned about women from 'er!

Then we was shifted to Neemuch
(Or I might ha' been keepin' 'er now),
An' I took with a shiny she-devil,
The wife of a nigger at Mhow;
Taught me the Gypsy-folks bolee;
Kind o' volcano she were,
But she knifed me one night 'cause I wished she were white,
And I learned about women from 'er!

Then I came 'ome on a trooper,
'Long with a kid of sixteen--
Girl from the convent at Mirat,
The straightest I ever 'ave seen.
Love at first sight was 'er trouble,
She didn't know what it were,
But I couldn't do such, 'cause I liked 'er too much,
And I learned about women from 'er!

I've taken me fun where I found it,
An' now I must pay for me fun,
For the more you 'ave known of the many
The less you will settle to one;
An' the end of it's sittin' and' thinkin',
Dreamin' Hell's fires to see;
So, beware of me lot (which I know you will not),
An' learn about women from me!

What did the Colonel's Lady think;
Nobody never knew.
Somebody asked the Sergeant's wife,
An' she told 'em straight an' true!
When you get to the man in a case,
They're alike as a row of pins--
But the Colonel's Lady an' Judy O'Grady
Are sisters under their skins!


The Betrothed

"You must choose between me and your cigar."

Open the old cigar-box, get me a Cuba stout,
For things are running crossways, and Maggie and I are out.

We quarrelled about Havanas -- we fought o'er a good cheroot,
And I knew she is exacting, and she says I am a brute.

Open the old cigar-box -- let me consider a space;
In the soft blue veil of the vapour musing on Maggie's face.

Maggie is pretty to look at -- Maggie's a loving lass,
But the prettiest cheeks must wrinkle, the truest of loves must pass.

There's peace in a Larranaga, there's calm in a Henry Clay;
But the best cigar in an hour is finished and thrown away --

Thrown away for another as perfect and ripe and brown --
But I could not throw away Maggie for fear o' the talk o' the town!

Maggie, my wife at fifty -- grey and dour and old --
With never another Maggie to purchase for love or gold!

And the light of Days that have Been the dark of the Days that Are,
And Love's torch stinking and stale, like the butt of a dead cigar --

The butt of a dead cigar you are bound to keep in your pocket --
With never a new one to light tho' it's charred and black to the socket!

Open the old cigar-box -- let me consider a while.
Here is a mild Manila -- there is a wifely smile.

Which is the better portion -- bondage bought with a ring,
Or a harem of dusky beauties, fifty tied in a string?

Counsellors cunning and silent -- comforters true and tried,
And never a one of the fifty to sneer at a rival bride?

Thought in the early morning, solace in time of woes,
Peace in the hush of the twilight, balm ere my eyelids close,

This will the fifty give me, asking nought in return,
With only a Suttee's passion -- to do their duty and burn.

This will the fifty give me. When they are spent and dead,
Five times other fifties shall be my servants instead.

The furrows of far-off Java, the isles of the Spanish Main,
When they hear my harem is empty will send me my brides again.

I will take no heed to their raiment, nor food for their mouths withal,
So long as the gulls are nesting, so long as the showers fall.

I will scent 'em with best vanilla, with tea will I temper their hides,
And the Moor and the Mormon shall envy who read of the tale of my brides.

For Maggie has written a letter to give me my choice between
The wee little whimpering Love and the great god Nick o' Teen.

And I have been servant of Love for barely a twelvemonth clear,
But I have been Priest of Cabanas a matter of seven year;

And the gloom of my bachelor days is flecked with the cheery light
Of stums that I burned to Friendship and Pleasure and Work and Fight.

And I turn my eyes to the future that Maggie and I must prove,
But the only light on the marshes is the Will-o'-the-Wisp of Love.

Will it see me safe through my journey or leave me bogged in the mire?
Since a puff of tobacco can cloud it, shall I follow the fitful fire?

Open the old cigar-box -- let me consider anew --
Old friends, and who is Maggie that I should abandon you?

A million surplus Maggies are willing to bear the yoke;
And a woman is only a woman, but a good Cigar is a Smoke.

Light me another Cuba -- I hold to my first-sworn vows.
If Maggie will have no rival, I'll have no Maggie for Spouse


We have another viceroy now, -- those days are dead and done
Of Delilah Aberyswith and depraved Ulysses Gunne.

Delilah Aberyswith was a lady -- not too young --
With a perfect taste in dresses and a badly-bitted tongue,
With a thirst for information, and a greater thirst for praise,
And a little house in Simla in the Prehistoric Days.

By reason of her marriage to a gentleman in power,
Delilah was acquainted with the gossip of the hour;
And many little secrets, of the half-official kind,
Were whispered to Delilah, and she bore them all in mind.

She patronized extensively a man, Ulysses Gunne,
Whose mode of earning money was a low and shameful one.
He wrote for certain papers, which, as everybody knows,
Is worse than serving in a shop or scaring off the crows.

He praised her "queenly beauty" first; and, later on, he hinted
At the "vastness of her intellect" with compliment unstinted.
He went with her a-riding, and his love for her was such
That he lent her all his horses and -- she galled them very much.

One day, THEY brewed a secret of a fine financial sort;
It related to Appointments, to a Man and a Report.
'Twas almost wortth the keeping, -- only seven people knew it --
And Gunne rose up to seek the truth and patiently ensue it.

It was a Viceroy's Secret, but -- perhaps the wine was red --
Perhaps an Aged Concillor had lost his aged head --
Perhaps Delilah's eyes were bright -- Delilah's whispers sweet --
The Aged Member told her what 'twere treason to repeat.

Ulysses went a-riding, and they talked of love and flowers;
Ulysses went a-calling, and he called for several hours;
Ulysses went a-waltzing, and Delilah helped him dance --
Ulysses let the waltzes go, and waited for his chance.

The summer sun was setting, and the summer air was still,
The couple went a-walking in the shade of Summer Hill.
The wasteful sunset faded out in turkis-green and gold,
Ulysses pleaded softly, and . . . that bad Delilah told!

Next morn, a startled Empire learnt the all-important news;
Next week, the Aged Councillor was shaking in his shoes.
Next month, I met Delilah and she did not show the least
Hesitation in affirming that Ulysses was a "beast."

            *   *   *   *   *

We have another Viceroy now, those days are dead and done --
Off, Delilah Aberyswith and most mean Ulysses Gunne!

The Lovers' Litany

Eyes of grey -- a sodden quay,
Driving rain and falling tears,
As the steamer wears to sea
In a parting storm of cheers.
  Sing, for Faith and Hope are high --
  None so true as you and I --
  Sing the Lovers' Litany:
  "Love like ours can never die!"

Eyes of black -- a throbbing keel,
Milky foam to left and right;
Whispered converse near the wheel
In the brilliant tropic night.
  Cross that rules the Southern Sky!
  Stars that sweep and wheel and fly,
  Hear the Lovers' Litany:
  Love like ours can never die!"

Eyes of brown -- a dusy plain
Split and parched with heat of June,
Flying hoof and tightened rein,
Hearts that beat the old, old tune.
  Side by side the horses fly,
  Frame we now the old reply
  Of the Lovers' Litany:
  "Love like ours can never die!"

Eyes of blue -- the Simla Hills
Silvered with the moonlight hoar;
Pleading of the waltz that thrills,
Dies and echoes round Benmore.
  "Mabel," "Officers," "Good-bye,"
  Glamour, wine, and witchery --
  On my soul's sincerity,
  "Love like ours can never die!"

Maidens of your charity,
Pity my most luckless state.
Four times Cipid's debtor I --
Bankrupt in quadruplicate.
  Yet, despite this evil case,
  And a maiden showed me grace,
  Four-and-forty times would I
  Sing the Lovers' Litany:
  "Love like ours can never die!"

My Lady's Law

The Law whereby my lady moves
Was never Law to me,
But 'tis enough that she approves
Whatever Law it be.

For in that Law, and by that Law
My constant course I'll steer;
Not that I heed or deem it dread,
But that she holds it dear.

Tho' Asia sent for my content
Her richest argosies,
Those would  I spurn, and bid return,
If that should give her ease.

With equal heart I'd watch depart
Each spiced sail from sight;
Sans bitterness, desiring less
Great gear than her delight.

Though Kings made swift with many a gift
My proven sword to hire--
I would not go nor serve 'em so--
Except at her desire.

With even mind, I'd put behind
Adventure and acclaim,
And clean give o'er, esteeming more
Her favour than my fame.

Yet such am I, yea, such am I--
Sore bond and freest free,
The Law that sways my lady's ways
Is mystery to me

The Wage-Slaves
Oh, glorious are the guarded heights
  Where guardian souls abide--
Self-exiled from our gross delights--
  Above, beyond, outside:
An ampler arc their spirit swings--
  Commands a juster view--
We have their word for all these things,
   No doubt their words are true.

Yet we, the bond slaves of our day,
  Whom dirt and danger press--
Co-heirs of insolence,  delay,
  And leagued unfaithfulness--
Such is our need must seek indeed
  And, having found, engage
The men who merely do the work
  For which they draw the wage.

From forge and farm and mine and bench,
  Deck, altar, outpost lone--
Mill, school, battalion, counter, trench,
  Rail, senate, sheepfold, throne--
Creation's cry goes up on high
  From age to cheated age:
"Send us the men who do the work
   "For which they draw the wage!"

Words cannot help nor wit achieve,
   Nor e'en the all-gifted fool,
Too weak to enter, bide, or leave
  The lists he cannot rule.
Beneath the sun we count on none
  Our evil to assuage,
Except the men that do the work
  For which they draw the wage.

When through the Gates of Stress and Strain
  Comes forth the vast Event--
The simple, sheer, sufficing, sane
  Result of labour spent--
They that have wrought the end unthought
  Be neither saint nor sage,
But only men who did the work
  For which they drew the wage.

Wherefore to these the Fates shall bend
  (And all old idle things )
Werefore on these shall Power attend
  Beyond the grip of kings:
Each in his place, by right, not grace,
  Shall rule his heritage--
The men who simply do the work
  For which they draw the wage.

Not such as scorn the loitering street,
  Or waste, to earth its praise,
Their noontide's unreturning heat
  About their morning ways;
But such as dower each mortgaged hour
  Alike with clean courage--
Even the men who do the work
  For which they draw the wage--
Men, like to Gods, that do the work
  For which they draw the wage--
Begin-continue-close that work
  For which they draw the wage!