Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Women’s Rights

Women’s Rights

By: Ardis E. Parshall - May 29, 2012

I’m not absolutely certain whether this was written by a pseudonymous Mormon author — I think it was — or merely printed approvingly by a Mormon editor:

Women’s Rights

By “Banbury Cross”

What nonsense is this about “women’s rights”?
Have done with such frothy argumentation:
Do you think, forsooth, that by wordy flights
You can upset facts and organization?

Nature is Nature; and you may preach
As long as you like about “equality”;
You’ll never grow clever enough to teach
The power of burking Nature’s polity.

I’m a brute? Ah, well, madam, as you choose:
I bow politely to your correction:
You claim an inherent right to abuse,
And I, to write for your calm reflection.

Pray listen, dear lady, to what you’ll find
Are truths (though, of course, you’ll strive to flout them):
Mankind and oaks were made to be twin’d,
And women and ivy to twine about them.

Establish “equality” between
Creation’s lords and aspiring ladies
To-day; and to-morrow ‘twould be seen
(Or I’ll submit to be sent to Hades)

That in spite of all the quips and cranks
Of spouting, crinolin’d salamanders,
The girls would glide back into the ranks,
And the men would somehow be commanders.

Let a storm and shipwreck dark peril bring,
(Here stubbornest facts sustain my pen),
So long as the men to the vessel cling,
The weaker sex will cling to the men.

But, mark! If the men from the danger flee,
By a headlong plunge into boat or billow,
The women will follow confidingly,
E’en though it be to a watery pillow.

Believe me, my sisters, the cause you plead
Runs wholly counter to Nature’s plan:
‘Tis man’s prerogative ever to lead –
Your mission is ever to follow man.

Then let reformers prate away
Of “equal rights” in homes or nations:
Their blatant tongues can never sway
God’s code of all-wise regulations.




  1. Heh. I can’t decide which is my favorite – the bit about salamanders, or the oak and ivy analogy.

    Comment by E. Wallace — May 29, 2012 @ 12:20 pm

  2. I think I heard that read in our last stake priesthood meeting.

    Comment by queuno — May 29, 2012 @ 12:25 pm

  3. Well, he (or she) was definitely on the wrong side of history.

    “The Rights of the Women of Zion, and the Rights of the Women of all Nations”!

    Comment by Amy T — May 29, 2012 @ 1:15 pm

  4. I am officially speechless! :O

    Comment by Manuel — May 29, 2012 @ 1:44 pm

  5. Hope he’s having a nice time in Hades!

    Just kidding! This guy isn’t dead yet. Saw him commenting over at BCC over the weekend. [rimshot]

    Comment by Cynthia L. — May 29, 2012 @ 1:53 pm

  6. Wow. What a find.

    Comment by Jacob — May 29, 2012 @ 2:01 pm

  7. I had no idea Ralph Hancock was that old.

    Comment by Kaimi — May 29, 2012 @ 2:01 pm

  8. Reminds me of the line from the Jack Nicholson?Helen Hunt movie As Good as it Gets where Nicholson’s misogynistic Melvin is asked how he writes about women so well. His reply, “Just like a man, only I eliminate reason and free will.” Or words to that effect.

    I’ve tried to figure out from the old nursery rhyme why the author would call himself “Banbury Cross.” I suspect it may be that he views the “fine woman…with bells on her toes, and she shall have music wherever she goes” as a silly character to make fun of. And obviously, since I command it to be so, you female ivy-twining ‘ninnies will all fall in rank behind me in agreement. Right?

    Comment by kevinf — May 29, 2012 @ 2:06 pm

  9. This is obviously a Hofmann forgery. The bit about salamanders is a dead giveaway.

    Comment by Kevin Barney — May 29, 2012 @ 3:11 pm

  10. The line, thanks to

    “I think of a man, and I take away reason and accountability.”

    Too bad Banbury Cross didn’t have as good writers as Jack Nicholson–he could have been a misogynist with talent.

    Comment by Mark B. — May 29, 2012 @ 3:22 pm

  11. “Nature is Nature”

    But, Banbury, what about putting off the natural man?

    Comment by David Y. — May 29, 2012 @ 3:42 pm

  12. Ladies, ladies, keep your wandering leaves off my bark.

    I had to look up ‘burk,’ so give the author credit for that.

    Comment by Adam G. — May 29, 2012 @ 4:20 pm

  13. Kevin Barney’s comment: word.

    Comment by Michelle Glauser — May 30, 2012 @ 2:33 pm

Leave a comment

RSS feed for comments on this post.
TrackBack URI