[William Dunbar, 15th-16th century, Scotland]
In Praise of Women
Now of women this I say for me,
Of earthly things none may better be;
They should have worship and great honoring
Of men, above all other earthly thing;
Right great dishonour upon himself he takes
In word or deed who ever women faults;
Since that of women coming all are we,
Women are women and so will end and die.
Woe come to the fruit would put the tree to naught,
And woe come to him right so that says aught
Of womanhood that may be any lack
Or such great shame upon him for to take.
They us conceived with pain, and by them fed
Within their breasts there we be bound to bed;
Great pain and woe, and mourning marvelous,
Into their birth they suffer sore for us;
Then meat and drink to feed us get we none,
But that we suck out of their breasts harm.
They are the comfort that we all have here,
There may no man be till us half so dear;
They are our very nest of nourishing;
In lack of them who can say any thing,
That foul his nest he flees, and for that
Exiled he should be of all good company;
There should no wise man give audience,
To such one without intelligence.
Christ to his father he had not one man;
So what worship women should have then.
That Son is Lord, that Son is King of kings,
In heaven and earth his majesty ay rings.
So She has borne him in her holiness,
And he is well and ground of all goodness,
All women of us should have honoring,
Service and love, above all other thing.