The School Bag

from Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum

Aemelia Lanyer

Till now your indiscretion sets us free,
And makes our former fault much lesse appeare;
Our Mother Eve, who tasted of the Tree,
Giving to Adam what she held most deare,
Was simply good, and had no powre to see,
The after-comming harme did not appeare:
    The subtile Serpent that our Sex betraide,
    Before our fall so sure a plot had laide.

That undiscerning Ignorance perceav'd
No guile, or craft that was by him intended;
For, had she knowne of what we were bereav’d,
To his request she had not condiscended.
But she (poore soule) by cunning was deceav'd,
No hurt therein her harmlesse Heart intended:
    For she alleadg'd Gods word, which he denies
    That they should die, but even as Gods, be wise.

But surely Adam cannot be excus'd,
Her fault, though great, yet hee was most too blame;
What Weaknesse offred, Strength might have refusde,
Being Lord of all the greater was his shame:
Although the Serpents craft had her abusde,
Gods holy word ought all his actions frame:
    For he was Lord and King of all the earth,
    Before poore Eve had either life or breath.

Who being fram'd by Gods eternall hand,
The perfect'st man that ever breath'd on earth,
And from Gods mouth receiv'd that strait command,
The breach whereof he knew was present death:
Yea having powre to rule both Sea and Land,
Yet with one Apple wonne to loose that breath,
    Which God hath breathed in his beauteous face,
    Bringing us all in danger and disgrace.

And then to lay the fault on Patience backe,
That we (poore women) must endure it all;
We know right well he did discretion lacke,
Beeing not perswaded thereunto at all;
If Eve did erre, it was for knowledge sake,
The fruit beeing faire perswaded him to fall:
    No subtill Serpents falshood did betray him,
    If he would eate it, who had powre to stay him?

Not Eve, whose fault was onely too much loue,
Which made her give this present to her Deare,
That which shee tasted, he likewise might prove,
Whereby his knowledge might become more cleare;
He never sought her weakenesse to reprove,
With those sharpe words wich he of God did heare:
    Yet Men will boast of Knowledge, which he tooke
    From Eves faire hand, as from a learned Booke.

If any Evill did in her remaine,
Beeing made of him, he was the ground of all;
If one of many Worlds could lay a staine
Upon our Sexe, and worke so great a fall
To wretched Man, by Satans subtill traine;                        trickery
What will so fowle a fault amongst you all?
    Her weakenesse did the Serpents words obay,
    But you in malice Gods deare Sonne betray.

Whom, if unjustly you condemne to die,
Her sinne was small, to what you doe commit;
All mortall sinnes that doe for vengeance crie,
Are not to be compared unto it:
If many worlds would altogether trie,
By all their sinnes the wrath of God to get;
    This sinne of yours, surmounts them all as farre
    As doth the Sunne, another little starre.

Then let us have our Libertie againe,
And challendge to your selves no Sov'raigntie;
You came not in the world without our paine,
Make that a barre against your crueltie;
Your fault beeing greater, why should you disdaine
Our beeing your equals, free from tyranny?
    If one weake woman simply did offend,
    This sinne of yours hath no excuse, nor end.