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Poetry Interlude: The Female of the Species, by Rudyard Kipling

04 Jan

At a recent post, I quoted the following poem – Matthew’s favourite, one of mine also and also one of Svar’s, who suggested, given that Kipling displayed a “proper, red-pill view of women”, that I should make a post of it.

I agree.  So here it is:


The Female of the Species

by Rudyard Kipling

 

When the Himalayan peasant meets the he-bear in his pride,

He shouts to scare the monster who will often turn aside.

But the she-bear thus accosted rends the peasant tooth and nail,

For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

 

When Nag, the wayside cobra, hears the careless foot of man,

He will sometimes wriggle sideways and avoid it if he can,

But his mate makes no such motion where she camps beside the trail —

For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

 

When the early Jesuit fathers preached to Hurons and Choctaws,

They prayed to be delivered from the vengeance of the squaws —

‘Twas the women, not the warriors, turned those stark enthusiasts pale —

For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

 

Man’s timid heart is bursting with the things he must not say,

For the Woman that God gave him isn’t his to give away;

But when hunter meets with husband, each confirms the others tale —

The female of the species is more deadly than the male.

 

Man, a bear in most relations, worm and savage otherwise,

Man propounds negotiations, Man accepts the compromise;

Very rarely will he squarely push the logic of a fact

To its ultimate conclusion in unmitigated act.

 

Fear, or foolishness, impels him, ere he lay the wicked low,

To concede some form of trial even to his fiercest foe.

Mirth obscene diverts his anger; Doubt and Pity oft perplex

Him in dealing with an issue — to the scandal of the Sex!

 

But the Woman that God gave him, every fibre of her frame

Proves her launched for one sole issue, armed and engined for the same,

And to serve that single issue, lest the generations fail,

The female of the species must be deadlier than the male.

 

She who faces Death by torture for each life beneath her breast

May not deal in doubt or pity — must not swerve for fact or jest.

These be purely male diversions — not in these her honor dwells —

She, the Other Law we live by, is that Law and nothing else!

 

She can bring no more to living than the powers that make her great

As the Mother of the Infant and the Mistress of the Mate;

And when Babe and Man are lacking and she strides unclaimed to claim

Her right as femme (and baron), her equipment is the same.

 

She is wedded to convictions — in default of grosser ties;

Her contentions are her children, Heaven help him, who denies!

He will meet no cool discussion, but the instant, white-hot wild

Wakened female of the species warring as for spouse and child.

 

Unprovoked and awful charges — even so the she-bear fights;

Speech that drips, corrodes and poisons – even so the cobra bites;

Scientific vivisection of one nerve till it is raw,

And the victim writhes with anguish — like the Jesuit with the squaw!

 

So it comes that Man, the coward, when he gathers to confer

With his fellow-braves in council, dare not leave a place for her

Where, at war with Life and Conscience, he uplifts his erring hands

To some God of abstract justice — which no woman understands.

 

And Man knows it! Knows, moreover, that the Woman that God gave him

Must command but may not govern; shall enthrall but not enslave him.

And She knows, because She warns him and Her instincts never fail,

That the female of Her species is more deadly than the male!

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10 Comments

Posted by on January 4, 2012 in feral females, poetry

 

10 responses to “Poetry Interlude: The Female of the Species, by Rudyard Kipling

  1. Matthew

    January 4, 2012 at 12:57 am

    Especially this:

    Man propounds negotiations, Man accepts the compromise;
    Very rarely will he squarely push the logic of a fact
    To its ultimate conclusion in unmitigated act.

     
  2. Will S.

    January 4, 2012 at 1:13 am

    Quite. Men understand the virtue, in most cases, of compromise; of finding a way to live together.

    Women, not so much…

     
  3. Svar

    January 4, 2012 at 9:14 am

    Ahhh…. back when poetry wasn’t gay.

    Look what I found: http://www.poetryloverspage.com/poets/kipling/kipling_ind.html

     
  4. Svar

    January 4, 2012 at 9:33 am

    I like his short stories too. I remember one where he talks about killing a crazed elephant in Burma. The British Raj was a different time….

     
  5. Will S.

    January 4, 2012 at 9:59 am

    Ooh, nice find, Svar!

    Yes, I like his short stories, too. Esp. The Man Who Would Be King, which was made into a great movie, back in the day…

     
  6. Will S.

    January 4, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    In addition to well-known Kipling poems such as The White Man’s Burden, If, and Tommy, I like many other, lesser known ones of his very much too, esp. When Earth’s Last Picture is Painted (particularly Christian), and The Stranger (which is subtitled ‘Canadian’, and I suspect, influenced by the English-French struggle here). I also like Song of the White Men, Gods of the Copybook Headings, and many others. Kipling rocks. 🙂

     
  7. Svar

    January 4, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    I find his poems, with the exception of The Female of the Species, to be extremely difficult to understand.

     
  8. Matthew

    January 5, 2012 at 1:29 am

    Svar, “Gods of the Copybook Headings”, though difficult, is right up your alley. Prophets must not be too transparent, lest the Israelites be inflamed with desire to burn them.

     
  9. Will S.

    January 5, 2012 at 7:09 am

    The White Man’s Burden is about the difficulties of imperialism; Tommy is about the attitudes of people towards soldiers (poor during peacetime; good only during wartime); If is a poem challenging men to achieve high ideals, to do their best; The Stranger is about the natural tendency of people to prefer their own kind, and the difficulties in relating to outsiders; Song of the White Man is a celebration of Western Civilization. When Earth’s Last Picture is Painted is fairly straightforward; it’s a praise to God, and a looking forward to Heaven after the Day of Judgment; and glorification of God through the arts. All good, worth reading.

     

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