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THE MILD MAGNANIMITY OF WOMEN.
A late eminent anatomist, in a professional discourse on the female
frame, is said to have declared, that it almost appeared an act of
cruelty in nature to produce such a being as woman. This remark may,
indeed, be the natural exclamation of refined sensibility, in
contemplating the various maladies to which a creature of such delicate
organs is inevitably exposed; but, if we take a more enlarged survey of
human existence, we shall be far from discovering any just reason to
arraign the benevolence of its provident and gracious Author. If the
delicacy of woman must render her familiar with pain and sickness, let
us remember that her charms, her pleasures, and her happiness, arise
also from the same attractive quality. She is a being, to use the
forcible and elegant expression of a poet,
"Fine by defect, and admirably weak."
There is, perhaps, no charm by which she more effectually secures the
tender admiration and the lasting love, of the more hardy sex, than her
superior endurance, her mild and _graceful_ submission to the common
evils of life.
Nor is this the sole advantage she derives from her gentle fortitude. It
is the prerogative of this lovely virtue, to lighten the pressure of all
those incorrigible evils which it cheerfully endures. The frame of man
may be compared to the sturdy _oak_, which is often shattered by
resisting the tempest. Woman is the pliant _osier_, which, in bending to
the storm, eludes its violence.
The accurate observers of human nature will readily allow, that patience
is most eminently the characteristic of woman. To what a sublime and
astonishing height this virtue has been carried by beings of the most
delicate texture, we have striking examples in the many female martyrs
who were exposed, in the first ages of christianity, to the most
barbarous and lingering torture.
Nor was it only from christian zeal that woman derived the power of
defying the utmost rigors of persecution with invincible fortitude.
Saint Ambrose, in his elaborate and pious treatise on this subject,
records the resolution of a fair disciple of Pythagoras, who, being
severely urged by a tyrant to reveal the secrets of her sex, to convince
him that no torments should reduce her to so unworthy a breach of her
vow, bit her own _tongue_ asunder, and darted it in the face of her
In consequence of those happy changes which have taken place in the
world, from the progress of purified religion, the inexpressible spirit
of the tender sex is no longer exposed to such inhuman trials. But if
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