Friday, January 29, 2010

Inconstancy of Woman

It is proverbial among male poets and playwrights to speak of the frailty or inconstancy of woman. But Biblically speaking, constancy is a virtue of both sexes and inconstancy is a vice equally descriptive of both sexes. Puritan writer Samuel Torshell (1605-1650) makes this point by comparing Ruth and Reuben in his treatise The Woman's Glory (1645), pp. 74-77:

3. Constancie and Resolution is accounted a man-like vertue; and it is charged upon the other whole Sexe that they are inconstant and mutable. The Emperours Diocletian and Maximinian in a publike Instrument call Womens wils Momentanie. But to the contrarie, how famous was Ruth even for her Constancie, who notwithstanding all assaults against it, resolved that nothing but death should separate her from her husbands mother? Intreat me not (said she to Naomi) to leave thee, or to returne from following after thee; for whither thou goest, I will goe; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge; thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: where thou dyest, will I die, and there will I be buried; the Lord do so to me and more also, if ought but death part thee and me. She was not as Jacob said of his sonne Reuben, Unstable as water, and therefore he could not excell; but she strengthened her selfe, as the Originall Phrase is, or as our Interpreters have rendred the Text, She was stedfastly minded.

No comments:

Post a Comment