As Like The Woman As You Can

A poem by William Ernest Henley

'As like the Woman as you can' -
(Thus the New Adam was beguiled) -
'So shall you touch the Perfect Man' -
(God in the Garden heard and smiled).
'Your father perished with his day:
'A clot of passions fierce and blind,
'He fought, he hacked, he crushed his way:
'Your muscles, Child, must be of mind.

'The Brute that lurks and irks within,
'How, till you have him gagged and bound,
'Escape the foullest form of Sin?'
(God in the Garden laughed and frowned).
'So vile, so rank, the bestial mood
'In which the race is bid to be,
'It wrecks the Rarer Womanhood:
'Live, therefore, you, for Purity!

'Take for your mate no gallant croup,
'No girl all grace and natural will:
'To work her mission were to stoop,
'Maybe to lapse, from Well to Ill.
'Choose one of whom your grosser make' -
(God in the Garden laughed outright) -
'The true refining touch may take,
'Till both attain to Life's last height.

'There, equal, purged of soul and sense.
'Beneficent, high-thinking, just,
'Beyond the appeal of Violence,
'Incapable of common Lust,
'In mental Marriage still prevail' -
(God in the Garden hid His face) -
'Till you achieve that Female-Male
'In Which shall culminate the race.'

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