Michael Pearl and a Victorian Poem

I recently came upon a poem by J. E. Pollock. It was published in 1883 and was called “Woman’s Influence.” It’s very Victorian, and it helps show just how many of Michael and Debi’s ideas come straight from that era rather than from the Bible. Here’s the poem (and here’s the Michael post that most directly relates):

WOMAN’S INFLUENCE

By J. E. Pollock

WHAT bliss that private life attains,
How happy is that earthly lot,
How blest to man that sacred spot
Where woman’s genial influence reigns!

In whatsoever sphere we move,
However low in fortune cast,
This treasure is by none surpass’d
The treasure of a woman’s love.

How desolate and dark that home
Within whose heaven-forsaken halls
Fair woman’s footstep never falls,
And woman’s accents never come!

But bless’d beyond the power to tell
Is that bright home of mortals here,
Where woman in her destined sphere
E’er wields her mystic influence well.

The fairest form that God has made,
The sweetest grace that he has given
Beneath his own eternal heaven,
Is that in her fair form array’d.

And hers the power to soothe the heart,
When cares perplex the wearied mind
To fortune’s ills oft unresign’d
When gloomy doubts their fears impart.

And hers that influence nobler far
That wields a magic power to move
The soul to noblest deeds of love,
Surpassing all the deeds of war.

And hers high Heaven’s honored trust
To weave around life’s tender years
That deep affection, that endears
A mother’s name to memories just ;

That lives thro’ each embitter’d strife
Beyond the limits of our youth,
A soul-reclaiming, God-like truth
Firm woven in our heart’s best life.

And hers the secret power again
That works by feelings that combine
To tone, to soften, and refine,
The ruder, sterner moods of men ;

That gives to beauty half its grace,
That gives to virtue half its charm,
That gives to truth a mighty arm
To elevate the human race.

Not hers the power with warlike hand,
Where foemen meet on battle-field
Array’d with armour, sword and shield,
In war to serve or to command.

Not hers the power ‘gainst wind and wave
To plough the fierce relentless sea,
Or in the conflict’s rivalry,
Amid the carnage to be brave.

Not hers Olympus’ olive crown,
Nor any such contested gem ;
But hers a nobler diadem
That yet shall win as fair renown.

Not hers the task where toil demands
The firmer nerve and sinew strong,
And harder muscles that belong,
By nature’s laws to stronger hands.

But in each higher, nobler race,
Whether in thought or art refin’d
That edifies the human kind,
There she with man may find a place.

Behold De Stael’s and Hemans’ fame!
What Browning, Cook, and Stowe have wrought,
What laurels Charlotte Bronte brought
To make immortal woman’s name!

The land of letters, love, and lore,
The land that fought for Helen’s wrong
Immortalized by Homer’s song,
That land the name of Sappho bore.

Then deem not man, (if so inclin’d
A woman’s weakness e’er to scorn),
Thyself to nobler duties born
To edify the human kind ;

For hers that noblest gift of heaven,
That soul -inspiring influence
Of love, that flows like sweet incense
From some celestial altar given.

Thoughts? Things to add?

About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.


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