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Poems of Andrew Lang


A REMONSTRANCE WITH THE FAIR


There are thoughts that the mind cannot fathom,
The mind of the animal male;
But woman abundantly hath 'em,
And mostly her notions prevail.
And why ladies read what they DO read
Is a thing that no man may explain,
And if any one asks for a true rede
He asketh in vain.

Ah, why is each "passing depression"
Of stories that gloomily bore
Received as the subtle expression
Of almost unspeakable lore?
In the dreary, the sickly, the grimy
Say, why do our women delight,
And wherefore so constantly ply me
With Ships in the Night?

Dear ladies, in vain you approach us,
With books to your taste in your hands;
For, alas! though you offer to coach us,
Yet the soul of no man understands
Why the grubby is always the moral,
Why the nasty's preferred to the nice,
While you keep up a secular quarrel
With a gay little Vice;

Yes, a Vice with her lips full of laughter,
A Vice with a rose in her hair,
You condemn in the present and after,
To darkness of utter despair:
But a sin, if no rapture redeem it,
But a passion that's pale and played out,
Or in surgical hands--you esteem it
Worth scribbling about!

What is sauce for the goose, for the gander
Is sauce, ye inconsequent fair!
It is better to laugh than to maunder,
And better is mirth than despair;
And though Life's not all beer and all skittles,
Yet the Sun, on occasion, can shine,
And, mon Dieu! he's a fool who belittles
This cosmos of Thine!

There are cakes, there is ale--ay, and ginger
Shall be hot in the mouth, as of old:
And a villain, with cloak and with whinger,
And a hero, in armour of gold,
And a maid with a face like a lily,
With a heart that is stainless and gay,
Make a tale worth a world of the silly
Sad trash of to-day!