A sound like the rumble of distant thunder,
Or the swelling tide of a stormy sea;
The dull world halted to hear and wonder--
Lo, woman had risen and sworn to be free!
Free from oppression and free from evil,
From moss grown custom and man made law;
And the stars looked down on a strange upheaval,
And the moon grew pallid with sights she saw.
The voice of woman swelled louder and bolder;
Like a turbulent river through space it ran.
From the sweet sex bondage to which God sold her,
In the very first covenant made with man,
She rose, and shattered each time worn fetter,
And flung them behind her. "Now all shall see,"
She cried, "how the world will be purer and better,
And life will be broader because of me!"
She shone like a strange star newly risen;
Mankind, astonished, stood still to gaze;
But she shunned, as a freed man shuns a prison,
The home, and old time habits and ways.
She looked on romance as a fairy story,
She flung off the garments that gave her grace;
She outstripped men on the road to glory,
And pushed them back in the market place.
She cries, from the summit of great achievement,
"Behold the truth of the things I said!"
And she seems not to know of her own bereavement,
And the whole world's loss--for Love is dead.
Battered and bruised in the market places,
He fled to the home from whence she passed;
And there, with his lips pressed close to her laces
And cast off garments, Love breathed his last.
By Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Munsey's Magazine (April, 1897)
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