Project Gutenberg's What Great Men Have Said About Women, by Various

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Title: What Great Men Have Said About Women
       Ten Cent Pocket Series No. 77

Author: Various

Editor: Marcet Haldeman-Julius

Release Date: August 2, 2005 [EBook #16418]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Ted Garvin, Hemantkumar N Garach and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at


Edited by E. Haldeman-Julius


What Great Men Have
Said About Women
















Where is any author in the world

Teaches such beauty as a woman's eye?

Love's Labour's Lost, A. 4, S. 3.

The idea of her life shall sweetly creep

Into his study of imagination;

And every lovely organ of her life

Shall come apparel'd in more precious habit,

More moving-delicate, and full of life,

Into the eye and prospect of his soul.

Much Ado About Nothing, A. 4, S. 1.

Kindness in women, not their beauteous looks,

Shall win my love.

Taming of the Shrew, A. 4, S. 2.

Win her with gifts, if she respect not words;

Dumb jewels often, in their silent kind,

More than quick words, do move a woman's mind.

Two Gentlemen of Verona, A. 3, S. 1.

You, that have so fair parts of woman on you,

Have too a woman's heart: which ever yet

Affected eminence, wealth, sovereignty.

Henry VIII., A. 2, S. 3.

'Tis beauty that doth oft make women proud;

'Tis virtue that doth make them most admired.

Henry VI., Pt. 3, A. 1, S. 4.

From woman's eyes this doctrine I derive;

They sparkle still the right Promethean fire;

They are the books, the arts, the academes,

That show, contain, and nourish all the world.

Love's Labour's Lost, A. 4, S. 3.

Her voice was ever soft,

Gentle, and low: an excellent thing in woman.

King Lear, A. 5, S. 3.

Have you not heard it said full oft,

A woman's nay doth stand for naught?

The Passionate Pilgrim, Line 14.

Thou shalt find she will outstrip all praise,

And make it halt behind her.

The Tempest, A. 4. S. 1.

Good name in man and woman,

Is the immediate jewel of their souls.

Othello, A. 3, S. 3.

Women are soft, pitiful, and flexible.

Henry VI., Pt. 3, A. 1. S. 4.

Such duty as the subject owes the prince,

Even such a woman oweth to her husband;

And, when she's froward, peevish, sullen, sour,

And not obedient to his honest will,

What is she, but a contending rebel,

And graceless traitor to her loving lord?

Taming of the Shrew, A. 5, S. 2.

Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale

Her infinite variety: other women cloy

The appetites they feed: but she makes hungry

Where most she satisfies.

Antony and Cleopatra, A. 2, S. 2.

She's beautiful, and therefore to be wooed;

She is a woman, therefore to be won.

Henry VI., Pt. 1, A. 5, S. 3.

Say, that she rail; why, then I'll tell her plain

She sings as sweetly as a nightingale;

Say, that she frown; I'll say, she looks as clear

As morning roses newly wash'd with dew;

Say, she be mute, and will not speak a word;

Then I'll commend her volubility,

And say she uttereth piercing eloquence.

Taming of the Shrew, A. 2, S. 1.

Flatter, and praise, commend, extol their graces;

... Say they have angels' faces.

That man that hath a tongue, I say, is no man,

If with his tongue he cannot win a woman.

Two Gentlemen of Verona, A. 3. S. 1.

Bethink thee on her virtues that Surmount,

And natural graces that extinguish art;

And, which is more, she is not so divine,

So full-replete with choice of all delights,

But, with as humble lowliness of mind,

She is content to be at your command.

Henry VI., Pt. 1, A. 5, S. 5.

Let still the woman take

An elder than herself; so wears she to him,

So sways she level in her husband's heart.

For, boy, however we do praise ourselves,

Our fancies are more giddy and unfirm,

More longing, wavering, sooner lost and worn.

Than women's are.

Twelfth Night, A. 2, S. 4.

'Tis beauty truly blent, whose red and white

Nature's own sweet and cunning hand laid on.

Twelfth Night, A. 1, S. 5.

Fresh tears

Stood on her cheeks, as doth the honey-dew

Upon a gather'd lily almost wither'd.

Titus Andronicus, A. 3, S. 1.

Patience and sorrow strove

Who should express her goodliest. You have seen

Sunshine and rain at once; her smiles and tears

Were like a better day: those happy smilets,

That play'd on her ripe lip, seem'd not to know

What guests were in her eyes; which parted thence,

As pearls from diamonds dropp'd.

King Lear, A. 4, S. 2.

She is mine own;

And I as rich in having such a jewel

As twenty seas, if all their sand were pearl,

The water nectar, and the rocks pure gold.

Two Gentlemen of Verona, A. 2, S. 4.

A woman impudent and mannish grown

Is not more loath'd than an effeminate man

In time of action.

Troilus and Cressida, A. 3, S. 3.

A woman's face, with Nature's own hand painted,

Hast thou ...

A woman's gentle heart, but not acquainted

With shifting change, as is false woman's fashion:

An eye more bright than theirs, less false in rolling

Gilding the object whereupon it gazeth.

Sonnet XX.

No other but a woman's reason;

I think him so, because I think him so.

Two Gentlemen of Verona, A. 1, S. 2.

The hand that hath made you fair hath made you good: the goodness that is cheap in beauty makes beauty brief in goodness; but grace being the soul of your complexion, should keep the body of it ever fair.

Measure for Measure, A. 3, S. 1.

If ladies be but young and fair,

They have the gift to know it.

As You Like It, A. 2, S. 7.

If she do frown, 'tis not in hate of you,

But rather to beget more love in you:

If she do chide, 'tis not to have you gone;

Take no repulse, whatever she doth say;

For "Get you gone," she doth not mean "Away!"

Two Gentlemen of Verona, A. 3, S. 1.

She never told her love,

But let concealment, like a worm i' the bud,

Feed on her damask cheek: she pin'd in thought,

And, with a green and yellow melancholy,

She saw, like Patience on a monument,

Smiling at grief.

Twelfth Night, A. 2, S. 4.

She shall be

A pattern to all ... living with her....

Holy and heavenly thoughts shall still counsel her;

She shall be lov'd and fear'd. Her own shall bless her....

... Those about her

From her shall read the perfect ways of honour....

... Yet a virgin,

A most unspotted lily shall she pass

To the ground, and all shall mourn her.

Henry VIII., A. 5, S. 4.





Grace was in all her steps, Heaven in her eye,

In every gesture dignity and love.

Paradise Lost, Book 8.

When I approach

Her loveliness, so absolute she seems

And in herself complete, so well to know

Her own, that what she wills to do or say

Seems wisest, virtuest, discreetest, best.

Paradise Lost, Book 8.

Nothing lovelier can be found

In woman than to study household good,

And good works in her husband to promote.

Paradise Lost, Book 9.

For contemplation he and valour form'd;

For softness she and sweet attractive grace;

He for God only, she for God in him.

Paradise Lost, Book 4.

Among daughters of men …

Many are in each region passing fair

As the noon sky; more like to goddesses

Than mortal creatures; graceful and discreet;

… Persuasive …

Such objects have the power to soften and tame

Severest temper.

Paradise Regained, Book 2.

Ladies, whose bright eyes

Rain influence.


Love, sweetness, goodness, in her person shined.


O fairest of Creation, last and best

Of all God's works, creature in whom excell'd

Whatever can to sight or thought be form'd,

Holy, divine, good, amiable, or sweet!

Paradise Lost, Book 9.

Curiosity, inquisitive, importune

Of secrets, then with like infirmity

To publish them, both common female faults.

Samson Agonistes.

In argument with men, a woman ever

Goes by the worse, whatever be her cause.

Samson Agonistes.

Thus it will befall

Him who to worth in woman overturning

Lets her will rule; restraint she will not brook,

And left to herself, if evil thence ensue,

She first his weak indulgence will accuse.

Paradise Lost, Book 9.

Daughter of God …

I, from the influence of thy looks, receive

Access in every virtue: and in thy sight

More wise, more watchful, stronger, if need were

Of outward strength; while shame, thou looking on.

Shame to be overcome or overreach'd.

Would utmost vigour raise, and raised unite.

Why shouldst not thou like sense within thee feel

When I am present, and thy trial choose

With me, best witness of thy virtue tried?

Paradise Lost, Book 9.

By his countenance he seem'd

Entering on studious thoughts abstruse; which Eve

Perceiving, where she sat retired in sight,

With lowliness majestic from her seat,

And grace that won who saw to wish her stay,

Rose, and went forth among her fruits and flowers,

To visit how they prosper'd, bud and bloom,

Her nursery; they at her coming sprung,

And, touch'd by her fair tendance gladlier grew.

Paradise Lost, Book 8.

So dear to Heaven is saintly chastity,

That, when a soul is found sincerely so

A thousand liveried angels lackey her,

Driving far off each thing of sin and guilt,

And in clear dream and solemn vision

Tell her of things that no gross ear can hear;

Till oft converse with heavenly habitants

Begin to cast a beam on the outward shape.


A smile that glow'd

Celestial rosy red, love's proper hue.

Paradise Lost, Book 8.

She has a hidden strength …

… The strength of Heaven,

It may be termed her own.

'Tis chastity … chastity….

She that has that, is clad in complete steel;

And, like a quiver'd Nymph with arrows keen,

May trace huge forests, and unharbour'd heaths,

… and sandy perilous wilds …

She may pass on with unblench'd majesty

Be it not done in pride, or in presumption.


O Woman, in thy native innocence, rely

On what thou hast of virtue: summon all,

For God toward thee hath done His part, do thine.

Paradise Lost, Book 9.

What higher in her society thou find'st

Attractive, human, rational, love still;

In loving thou dost well, in passion not

Wherein true love consists not.

Paradise Lost, Book 8.

The wife, where danger or dishonour lurks,

Safest and seemliest by her husband stays,

Who guards her, or with her the worst endures.

Paradise Lost, Book 9.

Greatness of mind and nobleness their seat

Build in her loveliest, and create an awe

About her, as a guard angelic placed.

Paradise Lost, Book 8.

Those graceful acts,

Those thousand decencies that daily flow

From all her words and actions mix'd with love

And sweet compliance, which declare unfeign'd

Union of mind, or in us both one soul;

Harmony to behold in wedded pair

More grateful than harmonious sound to the ear.

Paradise Lost, Book 8.

Come, pensive Nun, devout and pure,

Sober, steadfast, and demure.

With even step and musing gait;

And looks commercing with the skies,

Thy wrapt soul sitting in thine eyes.

Il Penseroso.

Innocence and virgin modesty

Her virtue, and the conscience of her worth,

That would be woo'd, and not unsought be won

Not obvious, not obtrusive, but retired

The more desirable.

Paradise Lost, Book 8.

Lady, thy care is fix'd, and zealously attends

To fill thy odorous lamp with deeds of light.

And hope that reaps not shame.


A creature …

… So lovely fair,

That what seem'd fair in all the world seem'd now

Mean, or in her summ'd up, in her contain'd.

Paradise Lost, Book 8.

All things from her air inspired

The spirit of love and amorous delight.

Paradise Lost, Book 8.

It is for homely features to keep home—

They had their name thence: coarse complexions

And cheeks of sorry grain will serve to ply

The sampler and to tease the housewife's wool.


With dispatchful looks in haste

She turns, on hospitable thoughts intent.

What choice to choose for delicacy best,

What order, so contrived, as not to mix

Tastes, not well join'd, inelegant, but bring

Taste after taste upheld with kindliest change.

Paradise Lost, Book 5.

I do not think my sister …

… So unprincipled in Virtue's book

And the sweet peace that goodness bosoms ever,

As that single want of light and noise

Could stir the constant mood of her calm thoughts,

And put them into misbecoming plight.

Virtue could see to do what Virtue would

By her own radiant light, though sun and moon

Were in the flat sea sunk. And Wisdom's self

Oft seeks to sweet retired solitude:

Where, with her best nurse, Contemplation,

She plumes her feathers, and lets grow her wings.

That in the various bustle of resort

Were all too ruffled, and sometimes impair'd.






Around her shone

The nameless charms unmark'd by her alone:

The light of love, the purity of grace,

The mind, the music breathing from her face,

The heart whose softness harmonized the whole—

And, oh! that eye was in itself a soul!

The Bride of Abydos, Canto 1.

Maidens, like moths, are ever caught by glare,

And Mammon wins his way where seraphs might despair.

Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, Canto 1.

She was a form of life and light,

That, seen, became a part of sight;

And rose wher'er I turned mine eye,

The morning-star of memory!

The Giaour.

You know, or ought to know, enough of women,

Since you have studied, them so steadily,

That what they ask in aught that touches on

The heart, is dearer to their feelings or

Their fancy than the whole external world.

Sardanapalus, A. 4.

Oh! too convincing—dangerously dear—

In woman's eye the unanswerable tear!

That weapon of her weakness she can wield

To save, subdue—at once her spear and shield.

Corsair, Canto 2.

Who hath not proved how feebly words essay

To fix one spark of beauty's heavenly ray?

Who doth not feel, until his failing sight

Faints into dimness with its own delight,

His changing cheek, his sinking heart confess

The might—the majesty of loveliness?

Bride of Abydos, Canto 1.

So bright the tear in beauty's eye,

Love half regrets to kiss it dry;

So sweet the blush of bashfulness,

Even pity scarce can wish it less!

The Bride of Abydos, Canto 1.

Her glossy hair was cluster'd o'er a brow

Bright with intelligence, and fair and smooth;

Her eyebrow's shape was like the aërial bow

Her cheek all purple with the beam of youth

Mounting, at times to a transparent glow,

As if her veins ran lightning.

Don Juan, Canto 1.

Man's love is of man's life a thing apart,

Is woman's whole existence.

Don Juan, Canto 1.

Her very smile was haughty, though so sweet;

Her very nod was not an inclination;

There was a self-will even in her small feet,

As though they were quite conscious of her station;—

But nature teaches more than power can spoil,

And when a strong although a strange sensation

Moves—female hearts are such a genial soil

For kinder feelings, whatsoe'er their nation.

They naturally pour the "wine and oil,"

Samaritans in every situation.

Don Juan, Canto 5.

The earth has nothing like a she epistle,

And hardly heaven—because it never ends.

I love the mystery of a female missal,

Which like a creed ne'er says all it intends.

Don Juan, Canto 13.

Her chief resource was in her own high spirit,

Which judged mankind at their due estimation;

And for coquetry, she disdain'd to wear it:

Secure of admiration, its impression

Was faint, as of an every-day possession.

Don Juan, Canto 13.

An eye's an eye, and whether black or blue,

Is no great matter, so 'tis in request.

'Tis nonsense to dispute about a hue,

The kindest may be taken as a test.

The fair sex should be always fair; and no man

Till thirty, should perceive there's a plain woman.


She was not violently lively, but

Stole on your spirit like a May-day breaking;

Her eyes were not too sparkling, yet, half shut,

They put beholders in a tender taking.

Don Juan, Canto 6.

The very first

Of human life must spring from woman's breast,

Your first small words are taught you from her lips,

Your first tears quench'd by her, and your last sighs

Too often breathed out in a woman's hearing,

When men have shrunk from the ignoble care

Of watching the last hour of him who led them.

Sardanapalus, A. 1.

Soft, as the memory of buried love;

Pure, as the prayer which childhood wafts above

Was she.

Bride of Abydos; Canto 1.

She was a soft landscape of mild earth,

Where all was harmony, and calm and quiet,

Luxuriant, budding; cheerful without mirth,

Which, if not happiness, is more nigh it

Than are your mighty passions and so forth,

Which some call "the sublime": I wish they'd try it;

I've seen your stormy seas and stormy women,

And pity lovers rather more than seamen.

Don Juan, Canto 6.

The tender blue of that large loving eye.

The Corsair, Canto 1.

Now Laura moves along the joyous crowd,

Smiles in her eyes, and simpers on her lips;

To some she whispers, others speaks aloud;

To some she curtsies, and to some she dips;

Complains of warmth, and this complaint avow'd,

Her lover brings the lemonade,—she sips:

She then surveys, condemns, but pities still

Her dearest friends for being drest so ill.

One had false curls, another too much paint,

A third—where did she buy that frightful turban?

A fourth's so pale she fears she's going to faint,

A fifth's look's vulgar, dowdyish, and suburban,

A sixth's white silk has got a yellow tint,

A seventh's thin muslin surely will be her bane,

And lo! an eighth appears,—I'll see no more!

For fear, like Banquo's kings, they reach a score.


She was blooming still, had made the best

Of time, and time return'd the compliment,

And treated her genteely, so that, drest,

She look'd extremely well where'er she went;

A pretty woman is a welcome guest,

And her brow a frown had rarely bent;

Indeed she shone all smiles, and seem'd to flatter

Mankind with her black eyes for looking at her.


I think, with all due deference

To the fair single part of the creation,

That married ladies should preserve the preference

In tête-à-tête or general conversation—

Because they know the world, and are at ease,

And being natural, naturally please.


She walks in beauty, like the night

Of cloudless climes and starry skies;

And all that's best of dark and bright

Meet in her aspect and her eyes;

Thus mellow'd to that tender light

Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,

Had half impair'd the nameless grace

Which waves in every raven tress,

Or softly lightens o'er her face;

Where thoughts serenely sweet express

How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,

So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,

The smiles that win, the tints that glow,

But tell of days in goodness spent,

A mind at peace with all below,

A heart whose love is innocent!

Hebrew Melodies.

I saw thee weep—the big bright tear

Came o'er that eye of blue:

And then methought it did appear

A violet dropping dew;

I saw thee smile—the sapphire's blaze

Beside thee ceased to shine,

It could not match the living rays

That fill'd that glance of thine.

As clouds from yonder sun receive

A deep and mellow die,

Which scarce the shade of coming eve

Can banish from the sky,

Those smiles unto the moodiest mind

Their own pure joy impart;

Their sunshine leaves a glow behind

That lightens o'er the heart.

Hebrew Melodies.

I have observed your sex, once roused to wrath,

Are timidly vindictive to a pitch

Of perseverance, which I would not copy.

Sardanapalus, A. 2.

She was pensive more than melancholy,

And serious more than pensive, and serene,

It may be, more than either …

The strangest thing was, beauteous, she was wholly

Unconscious, albeit turn'd of quick seventeen,

That she was fair, or dark, or short, or tall;

She never thought about herself at all.

Don Juan, Canto 6.

A learned lady, famed

For every branch of every science known—

In every Christian language ever named,

With virtues equall'd by her wit alone.

She made the cleverest people quite ashamed,

And even the good with inward envy groan,

Finding themselves so very much exceeded

In their own way by all the things that she did.

Don Juan, Canto 1.

'Tis pity learned virgins ever wed

With persons of no sort of education,

Or gentlemen who, though well-born and bred,

Grow tired of scientific conversation:

Oh! ye lords of ladies intellectual,

Inform us truly, have they not hen-peck'd you all?

Don Juan, Canto 1.

What a strange thing is man! and what a stranger

Is woman? what a whirlwind is her head,

And what a whirlpool full of depth and danger

Is all the rest about her! whether wed,

Or widow, maid, or mother, she can change her

Mind like the wind; whatever she has said

Or done, is light to what she'll say or do;—

The oldest thing on record, and yet new!

Don Juan, Canto 9.

Round her she made an atmosphere of life,

The very air seem'd lighter from her eyes,

They were so soft and beautiful, and rife

With all we can imagine of the skies;—

Her overpowering presence made you feel,

It would not be idolatry to kneel.

Don Juan, Canto 3.

Through her eye the Immortal shone;

Her eyes' dark charm 'twere vain to tell,

But gaze on that of the gazelle,

It will assist thy fancy well;

As large, as languishingly dark,

But soul beamed forth in every spark

That darted from beneath the lid,

Bright as the jewel of Giamschid,

Yea, soul!

The Giaour.

So—this feminine farewell

Ends as such partings end, in no departure.

Sardanapalus, A. 4.





Even the most simple and unsuspicious of the female sex have (God bless them!) an instinctive sharpness of perception in love matters, which sometimes goes the length of observing partialities that never existed, but rarely misses to detect such as pass actually under their observation.—Waverley.

Her accents stole

On the dark visions of their soul,

And bade their mournful musings fly,

Like mist before the zephyr's sigh.

Rokeby, Canto 4.

She sung with great taste and feeling, and with a respect to the sense of what she uttered, that might be proposed in example to ladies of much superior musical talent. Her natural good sense taught her, that if, as we are assured, "music must be married to immortal verse," they are very often divorced by the performer in a most shameful manner. It was perhaps owing to this sensibility to poetry, and combining its expression with those of the musical notes, that her singing gave more pleasure to all the unlearned in music, and even to many of the learned, than could have been communicated by a much finer voice and more brilliant execution, unguided by the same delicacy of feeling.—Waverley.

Like every beautiful woman, she was conscious of her own power, and pleased with its effects…. But as she possessed excellent sense, she gave accidental circumstances, full weight in appreciating the feeling she aroused.—Waverley.

There was a soft and pensive grace,

A cast of thought upon her face,

That suited well the forehead high,

The eye-lash dark, and downcast eye;

The mild expression spoke a mind

In duty firm, composed, resign'd.

Rokeby, Canto 4.

The rose, with faint and feeble streak

So slightly tinged the maiden's cheek,

That you had said her hue was pale;

But if she faced the summer-gale,

Or spoke, or sung, or quicker moved,

Or heard the praise of those she loved,

Or when of interest was express'd

Aught that waked feeling in her breast,

That mantling blood in ready play

Rivall'd the blush of rising day.

Rokeby, Canto 4.

What woman knows not her own road to victory?—The Talisman.

She had been beautiful, and was stately and majestic in her appearance. Endowed by nature with strong powers and violent passions, experience had taught her to employ the one, and to conceal, if not to moderate, the other. She was a severe and strict observer of the external forms, at least, of devotion; her hospitality was splendid, even to ostentation; her address and manners were grave, dignified, and severely regulated by the rules of etiquette…. And yet, with all these qualities to excite respect, she was seldom mentioned in the terms of love or affection. Interest,—the interest of her family, if not her own—seemed too obviously the motive of her actions: and when this is the case, the sharp-judging and malignant public are not easily imposed upon by outward show.—The Bride of Lammermoor.

Reasoning—like a woman, to whom external appearance is scarcely in any circumstance a matter of unimportance, and like a beauty who has confidence in her own charms.—Kenilworth.

Her affection and sympathy dictated at once the kindest course. Without attempting to control the torrent of grief in its full current, she gently sat her down beside the mourner…. She waited a more composed moment to offer her little stock of consolation in deep silence and stillness.—The Betrothed.

Her kindness and her worth to spy

You need but gaze on Ellen's eye;

Not Katrine in her mirror blue,

Gives back the shaggy banks more true,

Than every free-born glance confess'd

The guileless movements of her breast;

Whether joy danced in her dark eye,

Or woe or pity claim'd a sigh,

Or filial love was glowing there,

Or meek devotion pour'd a prayer.

Or hate of injury call'd forth

The indignant spirit of the North.

One only passion unreveal'd,

With maiden pride, the maid conceal'd,

Yet no less purely felt the flame—

O need I tell that passion's name?

The Lady of the Lake, Canto 1.

She is fairer in feature than becometh a man of my order to speak of; and she has withal a breathing of her father's lofty spirit. The look and the word of such a lady will give a man double strength in the hour of need.—The Betrothed.

Her smile, her speech, with winning sway,

Wiled the old harper's mood away.

With such a look as hermits throw

When angels stoop to soothe their woe,

He gazed, till fond regret and pride

Thrill'd to a tear.

The Lady of the Lake, Canto 2.

All her soul is in her eye,

Yet doubts she still to tender free

The wonted words of courtesy.

Go to her now—be bold of cheer,

While her soul floats 'twixt hope and fear:

It is the very change of tide,

When best the female heart is tried—

Pride, prejudice …

Are in the current swept to sea.

Rokeby, Canto 2.

She was highly accomplished; yet she had not learned to substitute the gloss of politeness for the reality of feeling.—Waverley.

A deep-thinking and impassioned woman, ready to make exertions alike, and sacrifices, with all that vain devotion to a favorite object of affection, which is often so basely rewarded.—The Fortunes of Nigel.

The spotless virgin fears not the raging lion.—The Talisman.

Sweet was her blue eye's modest smile …

And down her shoulders graceful roll'd

Her locks profuse of paly gold …

She charm'd at once, and tamed the heart.

Marmion, Canto 5.

At length, an effort sent apart

The blood that curdled to her heart,

And light came to her eye,

And color dawn'd upon her cheek,

A hectic and a flutter'd streak.

And when her silence broke at length,

Still as she spoke she gather'd strength,

And arm'd herself to bear;—

It was a fearful sight to see

Such high resolve and constancy,

In form so soft and fair.

Marmion, Canto 2.

She look'd down to blush, and she look'd up to sigh,

With a smile on her lips, and a tear in her eye.

Marmion, Canto 5.

Her very soul is in home, and in the discharge of all those quiet virtues of which home is the centre. Her husband will be to her the object of all her care, solicitude, and affection. She will see nothing, but by him, and through him. If he is a man of sense and virtue, she will sympathize in his sorrows, divert his fatigue, and share his pleasures. If she becomes the property of a churlish or negligent husband, she will suit his taste also, for she will not long survive his unkindness.—Waverley.

When there can be no confidence betwixt a man and his plighted wife, it is a sign she has no longer the regard for him that made their engagement safe and suitable.—The Heart of Mid-Lothian.

She was by nature perfectly good-humoured, and if her due share of admiration and homage was duly resigned to her, no one could possess better temper, or a more friendly disposition; but then, like all despots, the more power that was voluntarily yielded to her, the more she desired to extend her sway. Sometimes, even when all her ambition was gratified, she chose to be a little out of health, and a little out of spirits.—- The Talisman.

Her look composed, and steady eye,

Bespoke a matchless constancy.

Marmion, Canto 2.

The noble dame, amid the broil,

Shared the gray seneschal's high toil,

And spoke of danger with a smile;

Cheer'd the young knights, and council sage

Held with the chiefs of riper age.

The Lay of the Last Minstrel, Canto 3.

Woman's faith and woman's trust,

Write the characters in dust.

The Betrothed.

Ne'er did Grecian chisel trace

A Nymph, or Naiad, or a Grace,

Of finer form, or lovelier face!

What though the sun, with ardent frown,

Had slightly tinged her cheek with brown,

The sportive toil, which, short and light

Had dyed her glowing hue so bright,

Served too in hastier swell to show

Short glimpses of a breast of snow;

What though no rule of courtly grace

To measured mood had train'd her pace,—

A foot more light, a step more true,

Ne'er from the heath-flower dash'd the dew;

E'en the slight hare-bell raised its head,

Elastic from her airy tread;

What though upon her speech there hung

The accent of the mountain tongue,

Those silver sounds, so soft, so clear,

The list'ner held his breath to hear.

Lady of the Lake, Canto 1.

Spoilt she was on all hands…. But though, from these circumstances, the city-beauty had become as wilful, as capricious, and as affected, as unlimited indulgence seldom fails to render those to whom it is extended; and although she exhibited upon many occasions that affectation of extreme shyness, silence, and reserve, which misses are apt to take for an amiable modesty; and upon others, a considerable portion of that flippancy which youth sometimes confounds with wit, she had much real shrewdness and judgment, which wanted only opportunities of observation to refine it—a lively, good-humoured, playful disposition, and an excellent heart.—The Fortunes of Nigel.

The buoyant vivacity with which she had resisted every touch of adversity, had now assumed the air of composed and submissive, but dauntless, resolution and constancy.—Rob Roy.

Her complexion was exquisitely fair, but the noble cast of her head and features prevented the insipidity which sometimes attaches to fair beauties. Her clear blue eye, which sat enshrined beneath a graceful eyebrow of brown, sufficiently marked to give expression to the forehead, seemed capable to kindle as well as to melt, to command as well as to beseech.—Ivanhoe.





She was a Phantom of delight

When first she gleamed upon my sight;

A lovely Apparition, sent

To be a moment's ornament;

Her eyes as stars of Twilight fair;

Like Twilight's, too, her dusky hair;

But all things else about her drawn

From May-time and the cheerful Dawn;

A dancing Shape, and Image gay,

To haunt, to startle, and waylay.

A Phantom of Delight.

A gentle maid, whose heart is lowly bred,

With joyousness, and with a thoughtful cheer.

A Farewell.

A Spirit, yet a Woman too!

Her household motions light and free,

And steps of virgin liberty;

A countenance in which did meet

Sweet records, promises as sweet;

A Creature not too bright or good

For human nature's daily food;

For transient sorrows, simple wiles,

Praise, blame, love, kisses, tears, and smiles.

A Phantom of Delight.

Sister … Thy mind

Shall be a mansion for all lovely forms,

Thy memory be as a dwelling-place

For all sweet sounds and harmonies.

Tintern Abbey.

She gave me eyes, she gave me ears;

And humble cares, and delicate fears;

A heart, the fountain of sweet tears;

And love and thought and joy.

The Sparrow's Nest.

'Tis her's to pluck the amaranthine flower

Of faith, and 'round the sufferer's temples bind

Wreaths that endure affliction's heaviest shower,

And do not shrink from sorrow's keenest wind.

Weak is the Will of Man.

I praise thee, Matron! and thy due

Is praise….

With admiration I behold

Thy gladness unsubdued and bold;

Thy looks, thy gestures, all present

The picture of a life well spent.

The Matron of Jedborough.

A blooming girl, whose hair was wet

With points of morning due….

Her brow was smooth and white….

No fountain from its rocky cave

E'er tripped with foot so free,

She seemed as happy as a wave,

That dances on the sea.

The Two April Mornings.

The floating clouds their state shall lend

To her; for her the willow bend;

Nor shall she fail to see,

Even in the motions of the storm,

Grace that shall mould the Maiden's form

By silent sympathy.

The stars of midnight shall be dear

To her; and she shall lean her ear

In many a secret place,

Where rivulets dance their wayward round,

And beauty born of murmuring sound

Shall pass into her face.

And vital feelings of delight

Shall rear her form to stately height,

Her virgin bosom swell.

Three Years She Grew in Sun and Shower.

How blest the Maid whose heart—yet free

From Love's uneasy sovereignty—

Beats with a fancy running high,

Her simple cares to magnify;

Whom Labour, never urged to toil,

Hath cherished on a healthful soil;

Who knows not pomp, who heeds not pelf;

Whose heaviest sin it is to look

Askance upon her pretty self

Reflected in some crystal brook;

Whom grief hath spared,—who sheds no tear

But in sweet pity; and can hear

Another's praise from envy clear.

The Three Cottage Girls.

A Being breathing thoughtful breath,

A Traveller between life and death;

The reason firm, the temperate will,

Endurance, foresight, strength, and skill;

A perfect Woman, nobly planned,

To warn, to comfort, and command;

And yet a Spirit still, and bright

With something of angelic light.

A Phantom of Delight.

She was happy,

Like a spirit of air she moved,

Wayward, yet by all who knew her

For her tender heart beloved.

The Westmoreland Girl.

This light-hearted Maiden….

High is her aim as Heaven above,

And wide as either her good-will;

And, like the lowly reed, her love

Can drink its nurture from the scantiest rill;

Insight as keen as frosty star

Is to her charity no bar,

Nor interrupts her frolic graces.

The Triad.

O Lady bright,

Whose mortal lineaments seem all refined

By favouring Nature, and a saintly mind,

To something purer and more exquisite

Than flesh and blood!


A maid whom there wore none to praise

And very few to love;

A violet by a mossy stone

Half hidden from the eye!

Fair as a star when only one

Is shining in the sky.

Poems of the Affections, 8.

Whether in the semblance drest

Of Dawn, or Eve, fair vision of the west,

Come with each anxious hope subdued,

By woman's gentle fortitude,

Each grief, through weakness, settling into rest.

The Triad.

How rich that forehead's calm expanse!

How bright that heaven-directed glance!

Poems of the Affections, 17.

Softly she treads, as if her foot were loth

To crush the mountain dew-drops,—soon to melt

On the flower's breast; as if she felt

That flowers themselves, whate'er their hue,

With all their fragrance, all their glistening,

Call to the heart for inward listening.

The Triad.

Let other bards of angels sing,

Bright suns without a spot;

But thou art no such perfect thing;

Rejoice that thou art not!

Heed not though none should call thee fair;

So, Mary, let it be

If naught in loveliness compare

With what thou art to me.

True beauty dwells in deep retreats,

Whose veil is unremoved

Till heart to heart in concord beats,

And the lover is beloved.

Poems of the Affections, 15.

What heavenly smiles! O Lady mine,

Through my very heart they shine;

And, if my brow gives back their light,

Do thou look gladly on the sight;

As the clear moon with modest pride

Beholds her own bright beams

Reflected from the mountain's side

And from the headlong streams.

Poems of the Affections, 18.

How beautiful when up a lofty height

Honour ascends.

A Widow …

She wasted no complaint, but strove to make

A just repayment, both for conscience's sake

And that herself and hers should stand upright

In the world's eye.

The Widow.

The Maiden grew

Pious and pure, modest and yet so brave,

Though young, so wise, though meek, so resolute.

Grace Darling.

In her face and mien

The soul's pure brightness he beheld,

Without a veil between.

The Russian Fugitive.

We her discretion have observed,

Her just opinions, delicate reserve,

Her patience, and humility of mind.

Unspoiled by commendation….

The Borderers.

O Lady, worthy of earth's proudest throne!

Nor less, by excellence of nature, fit

Beside an unambitious hearth to sit

Domestic queen, where grandeur is unknown;

What living man could fear

The worst of Fortune's malice, wert thou near,

Humbling that lily-stem, thy sceptre meek,

That its fair flowers may from his cheek

Brush the too happy tear!

The Triad.

Queen, and handmaid lowly!

Whose skill can speed the day with lively cares,

And banish melancholy

By all that mind invents or hand prepares;

Who that hath seen thy beauty could content

His soul with but a glimpse!

The Triad.

Dear girl …

If thou appear untouched by solemn thought,

Thy nature is not therefore less divine;

Thou liest in Abraham's bosom all the year;

And worshipp'st at the Temple's inner shrine,

God being with thee when we know it not.


I knew a maid,

A young enthusiast …

Her eye was not the mistress of her heart;

Far less did rules prescribed by passive taste

Or barren, intermeddling subtleties,

Perplex her mind; but wise as women are

When genial circumstance hath favoured them,

She welcomed what was given, and craved no more,

Whate'er the scene presented to her view.

That was the best, to that she was attuned

By her benign simplicity of life,

… God delights

In such a being; for her common thoughts

Are piety, her life is gratitude.

The Prelude.

Sweet girl, a very shower

Of beauty is thy earthly dower!…

Never saw I mien, or face,

In which more plainly I could trace

Benignity and homebred sense

Ripening in perfect innocence.

A face with gladness overspread!

Soft smiles, by human kindness bred!

And seemliness complete, that sways

Thy courtesies, about three plays.

To A Highland Girl.

A maiden …

Lovely as spring's first note … Pure

As beautiful, and gentle and benign.

A Flower….

Fairest of all flowers was she….

She hath an eye that smiles into all hearts,

Soon would her gentle words make peace.

The Borderers.

Yes! thou art fair, yet be not moved

To scorn the declaration,

That sometimes I in thee have loved

My fancy's own creation.

Imagination needs must stir;

Dear Maid, this truth believe,

Minds that have nothing to confer,

Find little to perceive.

Be pleased that Nature made thee fit

To feed my heart's devotion,

By laws to which all forms submit

In sky, air, earth, and ocean.

Poems of the Affections, 16.





Clearly a superior woman.—That is the way with female intellects when they are good; nothing equals their acuteness, and their rapidity is almost excessive.—Frederick the Great.

Perfection of housekeeping was her clear and speedy attainment in that new scene. Strange how she made the desert blossom for herself and me there; what a fairy palace she had made of that wild moorland home of the poor man! From the baking of a loaf, or the darning of a stocking, up to comporting herself in the highest scenes or most intricate emergencies, all was insight, veracity, graceful success (if you could judge it), fidelity to insight of the fact given.—Reminiscences.

Meek and retiring by the softness of her nature, yet glowing with an ethereal ardour for all that is illustrious and lovely.—Life of Schiller.

She was of a compassionate nature, and had a loving, patient, and noble heart; prudent she was; the skilfulest and thriftiest of financiers; could well keep silence, too, and with a gentle stoicism endure much small unreason.—Life of Schiller.

Her life was busy and earnest; she was help-mate, not in name only, to an ever-busy man.—Frederick the Great.

Peculiar among all dames and damosels, glanced Blumine, there in her modesty, like a star among earthly lights. Noblest maiden! whom he bent to, in body and in soul; yet scarcely dared look at, for the presence filled him with painful yet sweetest embarrassment.—Sartor Resartus.

A bright airy lady; very graceful, very witty and ingenious; skilled to speak, skilled to hold her tongue.—Frederick the Great.

Far and wide was the fair one heard of, for her gifts, her graces, her caprices; from all which vague colourings of Rumour, from the censures no less than from the praises, had our friend painted for himself a certain imperious Queen of Hearts, and blooming warm Earth-angel, much more enchanting than your mere white Heaven-angels of women, in whose placid veins circulates too little naphtha-fire.—Sartor Resartus.

A tall, rather thin figure; a face pale, intelligent, and penetrating; nose fine, rather large, and decisively Roman; pair of bright, not soft, but sharp and small black eyes, with a cold smile as of enquiry in them; fine brow; fine chin; thin lips—lips always gently shut, as if till the enquiry were completed, and the time came for something of royal speech upon it. She had a slight accent, but spoke—Dr. Hugh Blair could not have picked a hole in it—and you might have printed every word, so queen-like, gentle, soothing, measured, prettily royal toward subjects whom she wished to love her. The voice was modulated, low, not inharmonious; yet there was something of metallic in it, akin to that smile in the eyes. One durst not quite love this high personage as she wished to be loved! Her very dress was notable; always the same, and in a fashion of its own;—and must have required daily the fastening of sixty or eighty pins.—Reminiscences.

She had a pleasant, attractive physiognomy; which may be considered better than strict beauty.—Frederick the Great.

That light, yet so stately form; those dark tresses, shading a face where smiles and sun-light played over earnest deeps…. He ventured to address her, she answered with attention: nay, what if there were a slight tremour in that silver voice; what if the red glow of evening were hiding a transient blush!—Sartor Resartus.

The whims of women must be humoured.—French Revolution.

A woman of many household virtues; to a warm affection for her children and husband she joined a degree of taste and intelligence which is of much rarer occurrence.—Life of Schiller.

She is meek and soft and maiden-like….

A young woman fair to look upon.

Life of Schiller.

My dear mother, with the trustfulness of a mother's heart, ministered to all my woes, outward and inward, and even against hope kept prophesying good.—Reminiscences.

Women are born worshippers; in their good little hearts lies the most craving relish for greatness; it is even said, each chooses her husband on the hypothesis of his being a great man—in his way. The good creatures, yet the foolish!—Essay on Goethe's Works.

She is of that light unreflecting class, of that light unreflecting sex: varium semper et mutabile. And then her Fine-ladyism, though a purseless one: capricious, coquettish, and with all the finer sensibilities of the heart; now in the rackets, now in the sullens; vivid in contradictory resolves; laughing, weeping, without reason,—though these acts are said to be signs of season. Consider, too, how she has had to work her way, all along, by flattery and cajolery; wheedling, eaves-dropping, namby-pambying; how she needs wages, and knows no other productive trades.—The Diamond Necklace.

Thought can hardly be said to exist in her; only Perception and Device. With an understanding lynx-eyed for the surface of things, but which pierces beyond the surface of nothing, every individual thing (for she has never seized the heart of it) turns up a new face to her every new day, and seems a thing changed, a different thing.—The Diamond Necklace.

Reader! thou for thy sins must have met with such fair Irrationals; fascinating, with their lively eyes, with their quick snappish fancies; distinguished in the higher circles, in Fashion, even in Literature; they hum and buzz there, on graceful film-wings:—searching, nevertheless, with the wonderfullest skill for honey; untamable as flies!—The Diamond Necklace.

Nature is very kind to all children, and to all mothers that are true to her.—Frederick the Great.

She is of stately figure;—of beautiful still countenance.—A completeness, a decision is in this fair female figure; by energy she means the spirit that will prompt one to sacrifice himself for his country.—French Revolution.

A clever, high-mannered, massive-minded old lady; admirable as a finished piece of social art, but hardly otherwise much.—Reminiscences.

Who can account for the taste of females?—The Diamond Necklace.

A Beauty, but over light-headed: a Booby who had fine legs. How these first courted, billed, and cooed, according to nature; then pouted, fretted, grew utterly enraged and blew one another up.—Boswell's Life of Johnson.

With delicate female tact, with fine female stoicism too, keeping all things within limits.—Frederick the Great.

A true-hearted, sharp-witted sister.—Essay of Diderot.

A graceful, brave, and amiable woman;—her choicest gift an open eye and heart.—Oliver Cromwell.

Every graceful and generous quality of womanhood harmoniously blended in her nature.—Life of Schiller.

She is a fair vision, the beau idéal of a poet's first mistress.—Life of Schiller.

Heaven, though severe, is not unkind; Heaven is kind, as a noble mother; as that Spartan mother, saying while she gave her son his shield, "With it, my son, or upon it!"—Complain not; the very Spartans did not complain.—Past and Present.





All her face, all her person, breathed an ineffable love and kindness. She had always been predestined to gentleness, but Faith, Hope, and Charity, those three virtues that softly warm the soul, had gradually elevated that gentleness to sanctity. Nature had only made her a lamb, and religion had made her an angel.—Les Misérables.

She was the very embodiment of joy as she went to and fro in the house; she brought with her a perpetual spring.—Toilers of the Sea.

Her entire person was simplicity, ingenuousness, whiteness, candor, and radiance, and it might have been said of her that she was transparent. She produced a sensation of April and daybreak, and she had dew in her eyes. She was the condensation of the light of dawn in a woman's form.—Les Misérables.

The woman was weak, but the mother found strength.—Ninety-Three.

Woman feels and speaks with the infallibility which is the tender instinct of the heart.—Les Misérables.

What is a husband but the pilot in the voyage of matrimony? Wife, let your fine weather be your husband's smiles.—Toilers of the Sea.

No one knows like a woman how to say things which are at once gentle and deep. Gentleness and depth,—in these things the whole of woman is contained, and it is heaven.—Les Misérables.

Beauty heightened by simplicity is ineffable, and nothing is so adorable as a beauteous, innocent maiden, who walks along unconsciously, holding in her hand the key of Paradise.—Les Misérables.

She had the prettiest little hands in the world, and little feet to match them. Sweetness and goodness reigned throughout her person; … her occupation was only to live her daily life; her accomplishments were the knowledge of a few songs; her intellectual gifts were summed up in her simple innocence.—Toilers of the Sea.

The coquette is blind: she does not see her wrinkles.—By Order of the King.

A mother's arms are made of tenderness, and children sleep soundly in them.—Les Misérables.

There are moments when a woman accepts, like a sombre and resigned duty, the worship of love.—Les Misérables.

She was pale with that paleness which is like the transparency of a divine life in an earthly face…. A soul standing in the dawn.—By Order of the King.

He looked at her, and saw nothing but her. This is love; one may be carried away for a moment by the importunity of some other idea, but the beloved one enters, and all that does not appertain to her presence immediately fades away, without her dreaming that perhaps she is effacing in us a world.—By Order of the King.

She walked on with a light and free step, so little suggestive of the burden of life that it might easily be seen that she was young. Her movements possessed that subtle grace which indicates the most delicate of all transitions—the soft intermingling, as it-were, of two twilights,—the passage from the condition of a child to that of womanhood.—Toilers of the Sea.

She had never been pretty, but her whole life, which had been but a succession of pious works, had eventually cast over her a species of whiteness and brightness, and in growing older she had acquired what may be called the beauty of goodness. What had been thinness in her youth had became in her maturity transparency, and through this transparency the angel could be seen.—Les Misérables.

A ray of happiness was visible upon her face. Never had she appeared more beautiful. Her features were remarkable for prettiness rather than what is called beauty. Their fault, if fault it be, lay in a certain excess of grace…. The ideal virgin is the transfiguration of a face like this. Dèruchette, touched by her sorrow and love, seemed to have caught that higher and more holy expression. It was the difference between the field daisy and the lily.—Toilers of the Sea.

The glance of a woman resembles certain wheels which are apparently gentle but are formidable…. You come, you go, you dream, you speak, you laugh, and all in a minute you feel yourself caught, and it is all over with you. The wheel holds you, the glance has caught you.—Les Misérables.

She had listened to nothing, but mothers hear certain things without listening.—Ninety-Three.

She was really a respectable, firm, equitable, and just person, full of that charity which consists in giving, but not possessing to the same extent the charity which comprehends and pardons.—Les Misérables.

She seemed a vision scarcely embodied; … in her fairness, which amounted almost to serenity of her look; … in the sacred innocence of her smile, she was almost an angel, and yet just a woman.—By Order of the King.

The girl becomes a maiden, fresh and joyous as the lark. Noting her movements, we feel as if it were good of her not to fly away. The dear familiar companion moves at her own sweet will about the house; flits from branch to branch, or rather from room to room; goes to and fro; approaches and retires…. She asks a question and is answered; is asked something in return, and chirps a reply. It is delightful to chat with her when tired of serious talk; for this creature carries with her something of her skyey element. She is, as it were, a thread of gold interwoven with your sombre thoughts; you feel almost grateful to her for her kindness in not making herself invisible, when it would be so easy for her to be even impalpable; for the beautiful is a necessity of life. There is in the world no function more important than that of being charming…. To shed joy around, to radiate happiness, to cast light upon dark days, to be the golden thread of our destiny, and the very spirit of grace and harmony, is not this to render a service?—Toilers of the Sea.

She scarcely knew, perhaps, the meaning of the word love, and yet not unwillingly ensnared those about her in the toils.—Toilers of the Sea.

She stopped. She walked back a few paces, stopped again; she inclined her head, with those thoughtful eyes which look attentive yet see nothing…. Her lowered eyelids had that vague contraction which suggests a tear checked in its course, or a thought suppressed…. Her face, which might inspire adoration, seemed meditative, like portraits of the Virgin.—Toilers of the Sea.

She broke the bread into two fragments, and gave them to the children, who ate with avidity. "She has kept none for herself," grumbled the sergeant. "Because she is not hungry," said a soldier. "Because she is a mother," said the sergeant.—Ninety-Three.

Extreme simplicity touches on extreme coquetry…. They did not speak, they did not bow, they did not know each other, but they met; and like the stars in the heavens, they lived by looking at each other. It was thus that she gradually became a woman, and was developed into a beautiful and loving woman, conscious of her beauty and ignorant of her love. She was a coquette into the bargain, through her innocence.—Les Misérables.

Does not beauty confer a benefit upon us, even by the simple fact of being beautiful?—Here and there we meet with one who possesses that fairy-like power of enchanting all about her; sometimes she is ignorant herself of this magical influence, which is, however, for that reason only the more perfect. Her presence lights up the home; her approach is like cheerful warmth; she passes by, and we are content; she stays awhile, and we are happy.—Toilers of the Sea.

To behold her is to live; she is the Aurora with a human face. She has no need to do more than simply to be, she makes an Eden of the house; Paradise breathes from her: and she communicates this delight to all, without taking any greater trouble than that of existing beside them. Is it not a thing divine to have a smile which, none know how, has the power to lighten the weight of that enormous chain which all the living, in common, drag behind them?—Toilers of the Sea.

On the day when a woman who passes before you emits light as she walks you are lost, for you love. You have from that moment but one thing to do: think of her so intently that she will be compelled to think of you.—Les Misérables.

The soul only needs to see a smile in a white crêpe bonnet in order to enter the palace of dreams.—Les Misérables.

She had upon her lips almost the light of a smile, with the fulness of tears in her eyes…. The reflection of an angel was in her look.—Toilers of the Sea.





There is a vision in the heart of each

Of justice, mercy, wisdom, tenderness

To wrong and pain, and knowledge of its cure:

And these embodied in a woman's form

That best transmits them, pure as first received,

From God above her, to mankind below.

Colombe's Birthday.

This woman …

… Being true, devoted, constant—she

Found constancy, devotion, truth, the plain

And easy commonplace of character.

The Inn Album.

… The good and tender heart,

Its girl's trust and its woman's constancy,

How pure yet passionate, how calm yet kind,

How grave yet joyous, how reserved yet free

As light where friends are—how imbued with lore

The world most prizes, yet the simplest.

Herself creates

The want she means to satisfy.

A Blot on the 'Scutcheon.

Truly, the woman's way

High to lift heart up.


And Michal's face

Still wears that quiet and peculiar light

Like the dim circlet floating 'round a pearl.

And yet her calm sweet countenance,

Though saintly, was not sad; for she would sing

Alone … bird-like,

Not dreaming you were near.—Her carols dropt

In flakes through that old leafy bower.


… Such a lady, cheeks so round and lips so red,—

On her neck the small face buoyant like a bell-flower on its bed.


There's a woman like a dew-drop, she's so purer than the purest;

And her noble heart's the noblest, yes, and her sure faith's the surest;

And her eyes are dark and humid, like the depth on depth of lustre

Hid i' the harebell, while her tresses, sunnier than the wild-grape cluster,

Gush in golden-tinted plenty down her neck's rose-misted marble;

Then her voice's music … call it the well's bubbling, the bird's warble!

A Blot on the 'Scutcheon.

How twinks thine eye, my Love,

Blue as yon star-beam.

Ferishtah's Fancies.

That flower-like love of hers;

She was true—she only of them all!

True to her eyes, … those glorious eyes.

With truth and purity go other gifts.

All gifts come clustering to that.

The Return of the Druses.

Good as beautiful is she,

With gifts that match her goodness, no faint flaw

I' the white;—she were the pearl you think you saw.

Daniel Bartoli.

Since beneath my roof

Housed she who made home heaven, in heaven's behoof

I went forth every day, and all day long

Worked for the world. Look, how the laborer's song

Cheers him! Thus sang my soul, at each sharp throe

Of laboring flesh and blood—"She loves me so!"

A Forgiveness.

It is conspicuous in a woman's nature

Before its view to take a grace for granted:

Too trustful,—on her boundary, usurpature

Is swftly made;

But swftly, too, decayed,

The glory perishes by woman vaunted.


That fawn-skin-dappled hair of hers;

And the blue eye

Dear and dewy,

And that infantine fresh air of hers!

Eyes and mouth too,

All the face composed of flowers….

… The sweet face …

Be its beauty

Its sole duty!

A Pretty Woman.

Women hate a debt as

Men a gift.

In a Balcony.

A pretty woman's worth some pains to see,

Nor is she spoiled, I take it, if a crown

Complete the forehead pale and tresses pure.

Colombe's Birthday.

Sure, 'tis no woman's part to long for battle;

Who conquers mildly

God from afar benignantly regardeth.


Man's best and woman's worse

Amount so nearly to the same thing.

Daniel Bartoli.

Nature's law …

Given the peerless woman, certainly

Somewhere shall be the peerless man to match.

The Inn Album.

Show me where's the woman won without

The help of one lie which she believes—

That—never mind how things have come to pass,

And let who loves have loved a thousand times—

All the same he now loves her only, loves

Her ever….

The Inn Album.

Girl with sparkling eyes….

What an angelic mystery you are—

You have a full fresh joyous sense of life

That finds you out life's fit food everywhere;

By joyance you inspire joy.

The Inn Album.

Now makes twice

That I have seen her, walked and talked

With the poor pretty thoughtful thing,

Whose worth I weigh; she tries to sing:

Draws, hopes in time the eye grows nice;

Reads verse and thinks she understands;

Loves all, at any rate, that's great,

Good, beautiful….

Dis Aliter Visum.

Wave my lady dear a last farewell,

Lamenting who to one and all of us

Domestics was a mother, myriad harms

She used to ward away from every one,

And mollify her husband's ireful mood.

Balaustion's Adventure.

Men? say you have the power

To make them yours, rule men, throughout life's little hour,

According to the phrase: what follows?

Men, you make,

By ruling them, your own; each man for his own sake

Accepts you as his guide, avails him of what worth

He apprehends in you to sublimate his earth

With fire; content, if so you convey him through night,

That you shall play the sun, and he, the satellite,

Pilfer your light and heat and virtue, starry pelf,

While, caught up by your course, he turns upon himself.

Fifine at the Fair.

Any sort of woman may bestow

Her atom on the star, or clod she counts for such,—

Each little making less bigger by just that much.

Women grow you, while men depend on you at best.

Fifine at the Fair.

Woman, and will you cast

For a word, quite off at last

Me your own, your You,—

Love, if you knew the light

That your soul casts in my sight,

How I look to you

For the pure and true,

And the beauteous and the right,—

Bear with a moment's spite

When a mere mote threats the white!

A Lover's Quarrel.

Love, you did give all I asked, I think—

More than I merit, yes, by many times.

And perfect eyes, and more than perfect mouth,

But had you—oh, with the same perfect brow,

And the low voice my soul hears, as a bird

The fowler's pipe, and follows to the snare—

Had you, with these the same, but brought a mind!

Some women do so. Had the mouth there urged,

"God and the glory! never care for gain;

The present by the future, what is that?

Live for fame, side by side with Agnolo!

Rafael is waiting: up to God, all three!"

I might have done it for you. So it seems;

Perhaps not. All is as God overrules.

Andrea Del Sarto.

All women love great men

If young or old; it is in all the tales;

Young beauties love old poets who can love—

Who was a queen and loved a poet once

Humpbacked, a dwarf? ah, women can do that!

In a Balcony.

For women

There is no good of life but love—but love!

What else looks good, is some shade flung from love;

Love gilds it, gives it worth. Be warned by me.

Never you cheat yourself one instant! Love,

Give love, ask only love, and leave the rest!

In a Balcony.

Oh, the beautiful girl …

… Her flesh was the soft seraphic screen

Of a soul that is meant …

To just see earth, and hardly be seen,

And blossom in heaven instead.

Yet earth saw one thing, one how fair?

One grace that grew to its full …

… She had her great gold hair.

Hair, such a wonder of flix and floss,

Freshness and fragrance—floods of it, too!

Gold, did I say? Nay, gold's mere dross!

Gold Hair.

She had

A heart—how shall I say?—too soon made glad,

Too easily impressed: she liked whate'er

She looked on, and her looks went everywhere.

'Twas all one! My favour at her breast,

The dropping of the daylight in the West,

The bough of cherries some officious fool

Broke in the orchard for her,—all and each

Would draw from her alike the approving speech,

Or blush at least …

… Who'd stoop to blame

This sort of trifling?

My Last Duchess.





To be doing good for some one else, is the life of most good women. They are exuberant of kindness, as it were, and must impart it to some one.—Henry Esmond.

Who ever accused women of being just? They are always sacrificing themselves or somebody for somebody else's sake.—Pendennis.

I think it is not national prejudice which makes me believe that a high-bred English lady is the most complete of all Heaven's subjects in this world. In whom else do you see so much grace, and so much virtue; so much faith, and so much tenderness; with such a perfect refinement and chastity? And by high-bred ladies I don't mean duchesses and countesses. Be they ever so high in station, they can be but ladies, and no more. But almost every man who lives in the world has the happiness, let us hope, of counting a few such persons amongst his circle of acquaintance,—women, in whose angelical natures there is something awful, as well as beautiful, to contemplate; at whose feet the wildest and fiercest of us must fall down and humble ourselves, in admiration of that adorable purity which never seems to do or to think wrong.—Pendennis.

What kind-hearted woman, young or old, does not love match-making?—The Newcomes.

Who does not know how ruthlessly women will tyrannize when they are let to domineer? And who does not know how useless advice is?… A man gets his own experience about women, and will take nobody's hearsay; nor, indeed, is the young fellow worth a fig that would.—Henry Esmond.

Stupid! Why not? Some women ought to be stupid. What you call dullness I call repose. Give me a calm woman, a slow woman,—a lazy, majestic woman. Show me a gracious virgin bearing a lily; not a leering giggler frisking a rattle. A lively woman would be the death of me…. Why shouldn't the Sherrick be stupid, I say? About great beauty there should always reign a silence. As you look at the great stars, the great ocean, any great scene of nature, you hush, sir. You laugh at a pantomime, but you are still in a temple. When I saw the great Venus of the Louvre, I thought,—Wert thou alive, O goddess, thou shouldst never open those lovely lips but to speak lowly, slowly; thou shouldst never descend from that pedestal but to walk stately to some near couch, and assume another attitude of beautiful calm. To be beautiful is enough. If a woman can do that well; who shall demand more from her? You don't want a rose to sing. And I think wit is as out of place where there's great beauty; as I wouldn't have a queen to cut jokes on her throne.—The Newcomes.

And so it is,—a pair of bright eyes with a dozen glances suffice to subdue a man; to enslave him, and inflame him; to make him even forget; they dazzle him so that the past becomes straightway dim to him; and he would give all his life to possess 'em.—Henry Esmond.

She is as good a little creature as can be. She is never out of temper; I don't think she is very wise; but she is uncommonly pretty, and her beauty grows on you…. I look at her like a little wild-flower in a field,—like a little child at play, sir. Pretty little tender nursling. If I see her passing in the street I feel as if I would like some fellow to be rude to her that I might have the pleasure of knocking him down. She is like a little songbird, sir,—a tremulous, fluttering little linnet that you would take into your hand, and smooth its little plumes, and let it perch on your finger and sing.—The Newcomes.

That fine blush which is her pretty symbol of youth, modesty, and beauty…. I never saw such a beautiful violet as that of her eyes. Her complexion is of the pink of the blush-rose.—The Newcomes.

He thought and wondered at the way in which women play with men, and coax them and win them and drop them.—Pendennis.

It was this lady's disposition to think kindnesses, and devise silent bounties and to scheme benevolence, for those about her. We take such goodness, for the most part, as if it were our due; the Marys who bring ointment for our feet get but little thanks. Some of us never feel this devotion at all, or are moved by it to gratitude or acknowledgment; others only recall it years after, when the days are past in which those sweet kindnesses were spent on us, and we offer back our return for the debt by a poor tardy payment of tears. The forgotten tones of love recur to us, and kind glances shine out of the past—O so bright and clear!—O so longed after! because they are out of reach; as holiday music from with-inside a prison wall—or sunshine seen through the bars; more prized because unattainable, more bright because of the contrast of present darkness and solitude, whence there is no escape.—Henry Esmond.

In houses where, in place of that sacred, inmost flame of love, there is discord at the centre, the whole household becomes hypocritical, and each lies to his neighbor…. Alas that youthful love and truth should end in bitterness and bankruptcy…. 'Tis a hard task for women in life, that mask which the world bids them wear. But there is no greater crime than for a woman who is ill used and unhappy to show that she is so. The world is quite relentless about bidding her to keep a cheerful face.—Henry Esmond.

O, what a mercy it is that these women do not exercise their powers oftener. We can't resist them if they do. Let them show ever so little inclination and men go down on their knees at once; old or ugly it is all the same, and this I set down as a positive truth. A woman with fair opportunities, and without an absolute hump, may marry whom she likes. Only let us be thankful that the darlings are like the beasts of the field and don't know their own powers. They would overcome us entirely if they did.—The Newcomes.

As for women—O my dear friends and brethren in this vale of tears—did you ever see anything so curious and monstrous and annoying as the way in which women court Princekin when he is marriageable!—The Newcomes.

She was as gentle and amenable to reason, as good-natured a girl as could be; a little vacant and silly, but some men like dolls for wives.—The Newcomes.

She had been bred to measure her actions by a standard which the world may nominally admit, but which it leaves for the most part unheeded. Worship, love, duty, as taught her by the devout study of the sacred law which interprets and defines it—if these formed the outward practice of her life, they were also its constant and secret endeavor and occupation. She spoke but very seldom of her religion, though it filled her heart and influenced all her behavior. What must the world appear to such a person?—The Newcomes.

There are ladies, who may be called men's women, being welcomed entirely by all the gentlemen, and cut or slighted by all their wives…. But while simple folks who are out of the world, or country people with a taste for the genteel, behold these ladies in their seeming glory in public places, or envy them from afar off, persons who are better instructed could inform them that these envied ladies have no more chance of establishing themselves in "Society," than the benighted squire's wife in Somersetshire, who reads of their doings in the Morning Post. Men living about town are aware of these awful truths. You hear how pitilessly many ladies of seeming rank and wealth are excluded from this "Society." The frantic efforts which they make to enter this circle, the meannesses to which they submit, the insults which they undergo, are matters of wonder to those who take human or woman kind for a study; and the pursuit of fashion under difficulties would be a fine theme for any very great person who had the wit, the leisure, and the knowledge of the English language necessary for the compiling of such a history.—Vanity Fair.

I can fancy nothing more cruel than to have to sit day after day with a dull handsome woman opposite; to answer her speeches about the weather, housekeeping, and what not…. Women go through this simpering and smiling life and bear it quite easily. Theirs is a life of hypocrisy. What good woman does not laugh at her husband's or father's jokes and stories time after time and would not laugh at breakfast, lunch, and dinner if he told them? Flattery is their nature,—to coax, flatter, and sweetly befool some one is every woman's business. She is none, if she declines this office.—The Newcomes.

He had placed himself at her feet so long that the poor little woman had been accustomed to trample upon him. She didn't wish to marry him, but she wished to keep him. She wished to give him nothing, but that he should give her all. It is a bargain not unfrequently levied in love.—Vanity Fair.

Every woman would rather be beautiful, than be anything else in the world,—ever so rich, or ever so good, or have all the gifts of the fairies.—The Virginians.

If a man is in grief, who cheers him; in trouble, who consoles him; in wrath, who soothes him; in joy, who makes him doubly happy; in prosperity, who rejoices; in disgrace, who backs him against the world, and dresses with gentle unguents and warm poultices the rankling wounds made by the stings and arrows of outrageous Fortune? Who but woman, if you please? You who are ill and sore from the buffets of Fate, have you one or two of these sweet physicians? Return thanks to the gods that they have left you so much of consolation. What gentleman is not more or less a Prometheus? Who has not his rock, his chain? But the sea-nymphs come,—the gentle, the sympathizing; … they do their blessed best to console us Titans; they don't turn their backs upon us after our overthrow.—The Virginians.

Is not a young mother one of the sweetest sights which life shows us? If she has been beautiful before, does not her present pure joy give a character of refinement and sacredness almost to her beauty, touch her sweet cheeks with fairer blushes, and impart I know not what serene brightness to her eyes?—The Newcomes.

This lady moved through the world quite regardless of all the comments that were made in her praise or disfavor. She did not seem to know that she was admired or hated for being so perfect, but went on calmly through life, saving her prayers, loving her family, helping her neighbors, and doing good.—Pendennis.

She had a fault of character which flawed her perfections. With the other sex perfectly tolerant and kindly, of her own she was invariably jealous; and a proof that she had this vice is, that though she would acknowledge a thousand faults that she had not, to which she had she could never be got to own.—Henry Esmond.

She was a critic, not by reason, but by feeling. Feeling was her reason.—Henry Esmond.

Her eyes were gray; her voice low and sweet: and her smile when it lighted up her face and eyes as beautiful as spring sunshine, also, they could brighten and flash often, and sometimes though rarely rain.—Pendennis.

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