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Arraignment Of The Men

Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz 1648 (San Miguel Nepantla) – 1695 (Mexico City)

Males perverse, schooled to condemn
Women by your witless laws,
Though forsooth you are prime cause
Of that which you blame in them:

If with unexampled care
You solicit their disdain,
Will your fair words ease their pain,
When you ruthless set the snare?

Their resistance you impugn,
Then maintain with gravity
That it was mere levity
Made you dare to importune.

What more elevating sight
Than of man with logic crass,
Who with hot breath fogs the glass,
Then laments it is not bright!

Scorn and favor, favor, scorn,
What you will, result the same,
Treat you ill, and earn your blame,
Love you well, be left forlorn.

Scant regard will she possess
Who with caution wends her way,—
Is held thankless for her “nay,”
And as wanton for her “yes.”

What must be the rare caprice
Of the quarry you engage:
If she flees, she wakes your rage,
If she yields, her charms surcease.

Who shall bear the heavier blame,
When remorse the twain enthralls,
She, who for the asking, falls,
He who, asking, brings to shame?

Whose the guilt, where to begin,
Though both yield to passion's sway,
She who weakly sins for pay,
He who, strong, yet pays for Sin?

Then why stare ye, if we prove
That the guilt lies at your gate?
Either love those you create,
Or create those you can love.

To solicitation truce,—
Then, sire, with some show of right
You may mock the hapless plight
Or the creatures of your use!

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:17 min read
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Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz was a Mexican writer, philosopher, composer, poet of the Baroque period, and Hieronymite nun of New Spain (Mexico). more…

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