Do you know you have asked for the costliest thing
Ever made by the Hand above?
A woman's heart, and a woman's life--
And a woman's wonderful love.
Do you know you have asked for this priceless thing
As a child might ask for a toy?
Demanding what others have died to win,
With the reckless dash of a boy.
You have written my lesson of duty out;
Manlike, you have questioned me.
Now stand at the bar of my woman's soul
Until I shall question thee.
You require your mutton shall always be hot,
Your socks and your shirt be whole;
I require your heart to be true as God's stars
As as pure as His heaven your soul.
You require a cook for your mutton and beef,
I require a far greater thing;
A seamstress you're wanting for socks and shirts--
I look for a man and a king.
A king for the beautiful realm called Home,
And a man that his Maker, God,
Shall look upon as He did on the first
And say: "It is very good."
I am fair and young, but the rose may fade
From my soft young cheek one day;
Will you love me then 'mid the falling leaves,
As you did 'mong the blossoms of May?
Is your heart an ocean so strong and deep,
I may launch my all on its tide?
A loving woman finds heaven or hell
On the day she is made a bride.
I require all things that are grand and true,
All things that a man should be;
If you give this all, I would stake my life
To be all you demand of me.
If you cannot be this, a laundress and a cook
You can hire and little to pay;
But a woman's heart and a woman's life
Are not to be won that way.
--from The Best Loved Poems of the American People, selected by Hazel Felleman, Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1936
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