The Poetry Corner

To Lady Mary Wortley Montague.

By Alexander Pope

1 In beauty or wit, No mortal as yet To question your empire has dared; But men of discerning Have thought that in learning To yield to a lady was hard. 2 Impertinent schools, With musty dull rules, Have reading to females denied: So Papists refuse The Bible to use, Lest flocks should be wise as their guide. 3 'Twas a woman at first (Indeed she was cursed) In knowledge that tasted delight, And sages agree The laws should decree To the first possessor the right. 4 Then bravely, fair dame, Resume the old claim, Which to your whole sex does belong; And let men receive, From a second bright Eve, The knowledge of right and of wrong. 5 But if the first Eve Hard doom did receive, When only one apple had she, What a punishment new Shall be found out for you, Who, tasting, have robb'd the whole tree!