[Milton-L] Adam's Side and Lady Anne Southwell's Poem

Michael Gillum mgillum at unca.edu
Sat Mar 6 16:50:24 EST 2010


Thanks, Jeffery, especially for the suggestion that punctuation is needed
after "kick." I was stumped by that line.

Micha

On Sat, Mar 6, 2010 at 4:06 PM, Horace Jeffery Hodges <
jefferyhodges at yahoo.com> wrote:

> I grew interested in the wonderful poem by Lady Anne Southwell celebrating
> Eve, "All maried men desire to have good wifes<http://books.google.com/books?id=FuUllPOJK9IC&pg=PA62&lpg=PA62&dq=%22All.maried.men.desire.to.have+good+wifes%22&source=bl&ots=XTSWjQHvwu&sig=sUjU_7o4KpvW_XGvBjvWZCdy_fQ&hl=en&ei=Sk2SS4ubGY6OkQWv94H5DA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=5&ved=0CBAQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=%22All.maried.men.desire.to.have%20good%20wifes%22&f=false>,"
> so I blogged about it:
>
>
>
>
>
>
> http://gypsyscholarship.blogspot.com/2010/03/lady-anne-southwell-all-maried-men.html
>
>
>
>
>
> And I hope that the links below work on this list, but if not, they're
> available on my blogpost:
>
>
>
> All.maried.men.desire.to.have good wifes:
> but.few.give good example.by thir lives
> They are owr head they wodd have us thir heles.
> this makes the good wife kick the good man reles.
> When god brought Eve to Adam for a bride
> the text sayes she was taene from out mans side
> A.simbole of that side, whose sacred bloud.
> flowed for his spowse, the Churches savinge good.
> This is a.misterie, perhaps too deepe.
> for blockish Adam that was falen a sleepe
>
>
>
> I have this from the Milton scholar's post but also from page 62 of *Early
> Modern Women's Manuscript Poetry<http://books.google.com/books?id=FuUllPOJK9IC&pg=PA62&lpg=PA62&dq=%22All.maried.men.desire.to.have+good+wifes%22&source=bl&ots=XTSWjQHvwu&sig=sUjU_7o4KpvW_XGvBjvWZCdy_fQ&hl=en&ei=Sk2SS4ubGY6OkQWv94H5DA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=5&ved=0CBAQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=%22All.maried.men.desire.to.have%20good%20wifes%22&f=false>
> * (Manchester University Press, 2005), edited by Jill Seal Millman and
> Gillian Wright, which remarks on the odd punctuation but doesn't explain it,
> and I can't either. But I can, perhaps, modernize the poem for most people's
> comprehension:
>
>
>
> All married men desire to have good wives,
> but few give good example by their lives.
> They are our head; they would have us their heels.
> This makes the good wife kick, the good man reels.
> When God brought Eve to Adam for a bride,
> the text says she was taken from out man's side,
> a symbol of that side, whose sacred blood
> flowed for his spouse, the church's saving good.
> This is a mystery, perhaps too deep,
> for blockish Adam that was fallen asleep.
>
>
>
> I encountered a bit of difficulty with the word "reles," which had me stuck
> between "releases" and "reels," but I found the answer on page 120 of Erica
> Longfellow's *Women and Religious Writing in Early Modern England<http://books.google.com/books?id=DKT_hUlO0ogC&pg=PA120&lpg=PA120&dq=%22reeling+husband%22+%22Women+and+Religious+Writing+in+Early+Modern+England%22&source=bl&ots=JMMdHi57gb&sig=wu1Dlv9g2KsRcba-KGxoYXSpsJ4&hl=en&ei=BbiSS_7YKcGIkAWN0OnzDA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CAYQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=&f=false>
> * (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2004), which also quotes the entire poem (so I
> suppose that I also have the poem from that book).
>
>
>
> The poem is a very clever use of scriptural passages, reminding men who
> would employ St. Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 11:3<http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=1Cr&c=11&v=1&t=KJV#comm/3>,
> "the head of every woman [is] the man," that Paul also says, in Ephesians
> 5:25 <http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Eph&c=5&t=KJV#comm/25>,
> "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave
> himself for it," thereby suggesting, by means of Southwell's implicit
> Pauline prooftexting, that being the head entails sacrificial
> responsibilities, which Southwell complexly alludes to in her symbolic
> cross-references to Genesis 2:21-24<http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Gen&c=2&v=21&t=KJV#21>("taene from out mans side") and John
> 19:34<http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Jhn&c=19&v=1&t=KJV#comm/34>("that side, whose sacred blood flowed"), showing that the husband is not to
> dominate the wife by treating her as his heel but is to love her even unto
> death, for if he is her Christ, she is Christ's blood.
>
>
>
> And if the husband doesn't understand this, Southwell implies, then he's
> not the head but a mere blockhead.
>
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