Excerpt from “A Defence of Women, Against the Author of the Arraignment of Women” by Joanne Sharp

What the Serpent began, men follow that still,
They tempt what they may to make women doe ill.
They will tempt, and provoke, and follow us long:
They deceive us with oathes, and a flattering tongue.
To make a poore Maiden or woman a whore,
They care not how much they spend of their store.
But where is there a man that will any thing give
That woman or maide may with honestie live?
If they yield to lewd counsell they nothing shall want,
But for to be honest, then all things are scant.
It proves a bad nature in men doth remaine,
To make women lewd their purses they straine.
For a woman that’s honest they care not a whit,
Theyle say she is honest, because she lackes wit.
Theyle call women whores,but their stakes theymight save,
There can be no Wbore, but there must be a Knave.
They say that our dressings, and that our attire
Are causes to move them unto lustfull fire.
Of all things which are we evermore finde,
Such thoughts doe arise as are like to the minde.
Mens thoughts being wicked they wracke on us thus,
That scandall is taken, not given by us.
If their sight be so weake, and their frailtie be such,
Why doe they then gaze at our beauty so much?

From: Sowernam, Ester, Ester hath hang’d Haman: Or, An Answer to a lewd Pamphlet, entituled, The Arraignment of Women. With the Arraignment of lewd, idle, froward, and unconstant men, and Husbands, 1617, Nicholas Bourne: London, pp. 50-51.

Date: 1617

By: Joanne Sharp (fl. 1617)

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