And claspt it with the summer of blue seas,
With brooches of white spray along the shores,—
It was to be an equal dwelling-place
For humans that he did it, into sex
Unknowably dividing human kind.
But wickedly we say this. God made man
For his delight and praise, and then made woman
For man’s delight and praise, submiss to man.
Else wherefore sex? And it is better thus,
To be man’s pleasure. What noble work is ours, To have our bodies proper for your love, The means of your delight! Ay, and minds too, Sometimes; we think, we women think we know What shape of mind pleases our masters best, And that we build up in us. A tender shyness, A coy reluctancy,—we use these well. Man is our master; it is best for us Persuading him line our captivity With wool-soft love, lest it be bitter iron.
This is the marvel’s head, that thou, so fair,
And loved by me, should keep so good a mind.
—They shall not see thee, when I display at large
The riches and the honour; I’ve enough
Possession, without thee, to stupify
The assembly of my men, my herd of kings.
I mean there shall not be a hint of doubt
About whose world this is. So I have bid,
From all the utter regions of my land,
The kings whom I allow to rule, who breathe
My air, to feast with me and for a while
Flatter their trivial lives with a brief relish
Of being king of the world’s kings in Shushan.
Yea, and I will dismay their wits with splendour;
No noise shall be against me in the world.
I am more open, kinder than Lord God,
Who never shows how much he has of thunder;
Wherefore against him men presume, and go
Often out of his ways extravagant.
But all the fear I keep obedient by me
Now to the gather’d world I openly shew.
So God is spoken against, I am never,
And I have a better terror in the world;
And chiefly for the happiness built round me
Divinely firm. O all the kings, my men,
Shall fear this terrible happiness of mine!
But thee I will not shew; I’ll have some wealth
Not public. I’ll have no adulteries,
No eyes but mine enjoying thee. To me
The sight of thee, all as the touch of thee,
Belongeth, only my pleasure thou art:
None but my senses shall come unto thee,
And I will keep my pleasure pure as Heaven.
Happy art thou, Vashti, to have wedded
One who so dearly rates possession of thee.
Better it is to spend my heart on thee
Than on any of the women that I have.
THE FEAST OF KINGS: MIDNIGHT