Orations of divers sorts accommodated to divers places written by the Lady Marchioness of Newcastle.
Newcastle, Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of, 1624?-1674.
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FEMAL ORATIONS.

PART XI.

I.

LAdies, Gentlewomen, and other In∣feriours, but not Less Worthy, I have been Industrious to Assemble you together, and wish I were so Fortunate, as to perswade you to make a Frequentation, Association, and Com∣bination amongst our Sex, that we may Unite in Prudent Counsels, to make our Selves as Free, Happy, and Famous as Men, whereas now we Live and Dye, as if we were Produced from Beast rather than from Men; for Men are Hap∣py, and we Women are Miserable, they Possess all the Ease, Rest, Pleasure, VVealth, Power, and Fame, whereas VVomen are Restless with Labour, Easeless with Pain, Melancholy for want of Pleasures, Helpless for want of Power, Page  226 and Dye in Oblivion for want of Fame; Never∣theless, Men are so Unconscionable and Cruel against us, as they Indeavour to Barr us of all Sorts or Kinds of Liberty, as not to Suffer us Freely to Associate amongst our Own Sex, but would fain Bury us in their Houses or Beds, as in a Grave; the truth is, we Live like Bats or Owls, Labour like Beasts, and Dye like VVorms.

II.

LAdies, Gentlewomen, and other Inferiour Women, The Lady that Spoke to you, hath spoken Wisely and Eloquently in Expres∣sing our Unhappiness, but she hath not Declared a Remedy, or Shew'd us a way to come Out of our Miseries; but if she could or would be our Guide, to lead us out of the Labyrinth Men have put us into, we should not only Praise and Admire her, but Adore and Worship her as our Goddess; but Alas, Men, that are not only our Tyrants, but our Devils, keep us in the Hell of Subjection, from whence I cannot Perceive any Redemption or Getting out; we may Com∣plain, and Bewail our Condition, yet that will not Free us; we may Murmur and Rail against Men, yet they Regard not what we say: In short, our VVords to Men are as Empty Sounds, our Sighs as Puffs of VVind, and our Tears as Fruitless Showres, and our Power is so In∣considerable, Page  227 as Men Laugh at our VVeak∣ness.

III.

LAdies, Gentlewomen, and other more Infe∣riours, The former Orations were Excla∣mations against Men, Repining at Their Condi∣tion, and Mourning for our Own; but we have no Reason to Speak against Men, who are our Admirers, and Lovers; they are our Protectors, Defenders, and Maintainers; they Admire our Beauties, and Love our Persons; they Protect us from Injuries, Defend us from Dangers, are Industrious for our Subsistence, and Provide for our Children; they Swim great Voyages by Sea, Travel long Journies by Land, to Get us Rarities and Curiosities; they Dig to the Centre of the Earth for Gold for us; they Dive to the Bottom of the Sea for Jewels for us; they Build to the Skies Houses for us; they Hunt, Foul, Fish, Plant, and Reap for Food for us; all which we could not do our Selves, and yet we Com∣plain of Men, as if they were our Enemies, when as we could not possibly Live without them: which shews, we are as Ungratefull, as Incon∣stant; But we have more Reason to Murmur against Nature than against Men, who hath made Men more Ingenious, VVitty, and Wife than VVomen, more Strong, Industrious, and Laborious than Women, for Women are Wit∣less, Page  228 and Strengthless, and Unprofitable Crea∣tures, did they not Bear Children. Where∣fore, let us Love men, Praise men, and Pray for men, for without Men we should be the most Miserable Creatures that Nature Hath, or Could make.

IV.

NOble Ladies, Gentlewomen, and other In∣feriour Women, The former Oratoress sayes, we are Witless, and Strengthless; if so, it is that we Neglect the One, and make no Use of the Other, for Strength is Increased by Ex∣ercise, and Wit is Lost for want of Conversa∣tion; but to shew Men we are not so Weak and Foolish, as the former Oratoress doth Ex∣press us to be, let us Hawk, Hunt, Race, and do the like Exercises as Men have, and let us Con∣verse in Camps, Courts, and Cities, in Schools, Colleges, and Courts of Judicature, in Taverns, Brothels, and Gaming Houses, all which will make our Strength and Wit known, both to Men, and to our own Selves, for we are as Igno∣rant of our Selves, as Men are of us. And how should we Know our Selves, when as we never made a Trial of our Selves? or how should Men know us, when as they never Put us to the Proof? Wherefore, my Advice is, we should Imitate Men, so will our Bodies and Minds ap∣pear more Masculine, and our Power will In∣crease by our Actions.

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V.

NOble, Honourable, and Vertuous Wo∣men, The former Oration was to Per∣swade us to Change the Custom of our Sex, which is a Strange and Unwise Perswasion, since we cannot Change the Nature of our Sex, for we cannot make our selves Men; and to have Femal Bodies, and yet to Act Masculine Parts, will be very Preposterous and Unnatural; In truth, we shall make our Selves like as the De∣fects of Nature, as to be Hermaphroditical, as neither to be Perfect Women nor Perfect Men, but Corrupt and Imperfect Creatures; Where∣fore, let me Perswade you, since we cannot Al∣ter the Nature of our Persons, not to Alter the Course of our Lives, but to Rule our Lives and Behaviours, as to be Acceptable and Pleasing to God and Men, which is to be Modest, Chast, Temperate, Humble, Patient, and Pious; also to be Huswifely, Cleanly, and of few Words, all which will Gain us Praise from Men, and Blessing from Heaven, and Love in this World, and Glory in the Next.

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VI.

VVOrthy. Women, The former Ora∣toress's Oration indeavours to Per∣swade us, that it would not only be a Reproach and Disgrace, but Unnatural for Women in their Actions and Behaviour to Imitate Men; we may as well say, it will be a Reproach, Disgrace, and Unnatural to Imitate the Gods, which Imitation we are Commanded both by the Gods and their Ministers, and shall we Neglect the Imi∣tation of Men, which is more Easie and Natural than the Imitation of the Gods? for how can Terrestrial Creatures Imitate Celestial Deities? yet one Terrestrial may Imitate an other, al∣though in different sorts of Creatures; Where∣fore, since all Terrestrial Imitations ought to Ascend to the Better, and not to Descend to the Worse, Women ought to Imitate Men, as being a Degree in Nature more Perfect, than they Themselves, and all Masculine Women ought to be as much Praised as Effeminate Men to be Dispraifed, for the one Advances to Per∣fection, the other Sinks to Imperfection, that so by our Industry we may come at last to Equal Men both in Perfection and Power.

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VII.

NOble Ladies, Honourable Gentlewomen, and Worthy Femal Commoners, The former Oratoress's Oration or Speech was to Perswade us Out of our Selves, as to be That, which Nature never Intended us to be, to wit Masculine; but why should we Desire to be Masculine, since our Own Sex and Condition is far the Better? for if Men have more Courage, they have more Danger; and if Men have more Strength, they have more Labour than VVo∣men have; if Men are more Eloquent in Speech, VVomen are more Harmonious in Voice; if Men be more Active, Women are more Gracefull; if Men have more Liberty, Women have more Safety; for wenever Fight Duels, nor Battels, nor do we go Long Travels or Dangerous Voyages; we Labour not in Building, nor Digging in Mines, Quarries, or Pits, for Metall, Stone, or Coals; neither do we Waste or Shorten our Lives with University or Scholastical Studies, Questions, and Disputes; we Burn not our Faces with Smiths Forges, or Chymist Furnaces, and Hundreds of other Actions, which Men are Imployed in; for they would not only Fade the Fresh Beauty, Spoil the Lovely Features, and Decay the Youth of Women, causing them to appear Old, whilst they are Young, but would Break their Small Page  232 Limbs, and Destroy their Tender Lives. Wherefore, Women have no Reason to Com∣plain against Nature, or the God of Nature, for though the Gifts are not the Same they have given to Men, yet those Gifts they have given to Women, are much Better; for we Women are much more Favour'd by Nature than Men, in Giving us such Beauties, Features, Shapes, Gracefull Derncanour, and such Infinuating and Inticing Attractives, as Men are Forc'd to Ad∣mire us, Love us, and be Desirous of us, in so much as rather than not Have and Injoy us, they will Deliver to our Disposals, their Power, Persons, and Lives, Inslaving Themselves to our Will and Pleasures; also we are their Saints, whom they Adore and Worship, and what can we Desire more, than to be Men's Tyrants, Destinies, and Goddesses?