Category Archives: Fifteenth Century Poets

May I Present Humphrey Gifford

1580 woman

 

A Delectable Dream

Here is a timeless satire on the faoibles of woman.  It was written nearly four hundred years ago, yet it sounds like a twentieth-century comment–a twentieth-century man’s comment.

A woman’s face is full of wiles,

Her tears are like the crocodiles;

With outward cheer on thee she smiles

When in her heart she thinks thee ill.

Her tongue still chats of this and that,

Than aspen leaf it wags more fast;

And as she walks she knows not what,

There issues many a truthless blast.

Thou far dost take thy mark amiss

If thou think faith in them to find.

The weathercock more constant is,

Which turns about with every wind.

Oh, how in pity they abound!

Their heart is mild like marble stone’

If in thyself no hope be found,

Be sure of them thou gettest none.

I know some pepper-nosed dame

Will term me fool and saucy jack,

That dare their credit so defame

And lay such slanders on their back.

What though on me they pour their spite?

I may not use the glozer’s trade:

I cannot say the crow is white,

But needs must call a spade a spade

(c. 1580)

glozer: flatterer.

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