earlyamericanwomenpoets



1804 - unknown


A genealogy of the Foote family records the marriage of Emily Foote to the Reverend Abraham C. Baldwin of Springfield, Massachusetts, on June 30, 1830. Emily Foote Baldwin excelled in religious poetry and light verse.

from Woman


"Essay on Man," Pope wrote long years gone by —
Wrote of his origin and destiny,
And aimed to vindicate the thousand ways
In which the Maker His wise power displays.
But nothing said of WOMAN as man's mate;
Essay on her reserved for later date.
Perhaps some day, when in ascetic mood,
His jaded muse he indiscreetly wooed.
Or it may be, it was his highest aim,
His power of cutting satire to proclaim
In polished Essay, — bring himself to view,
Reckless of statements, whether false or true.
Of this, Biographer informs me not;
I only know how he then wrote, and what.
He took defenceless WOMAN for his theme,
And dipped his pen in venom, — as 'twould seem —
Then drew a picture; but no WOMAN true
Would thank him for the picture which he drew.
By those who mingle with the wise and good,
Is WOMAN's character best understood.
"Man, know thyself," said one of ancient fame;
To knowledge of myself I lay slight claim;
I know this much, I've not the skill to write
On MAN; I fear I should not paint him right.
Allow me, then, a different theme to try,
And coax my fickle Muse with me to fly
In regions far beyond the common ken,
Where I, with true but trembling, feeble pen
Would fain my languid, slumbering powers excite,
To the bold task of venturing to write
"Essay" on WOMAN. MAN gave me the theme;
One often in his thought from this 'twould seem.
Of "WOMAN" I would speak in language true,
Commencing where she first was brought to view, —
WOMAN in Paradise, — for even there
A void was felt, till some one came to share
The solitude of ADAM; bliss complete
He knew not, till God gave him an "help-meet."
With joy exultant, ADAM did not know
This gift was but the prelude to his woe:
Joyous and thankful for his new-found treasure,
It filled up to the brim his cup of pleasure.
Both happy now, they in each other rest;
Which the superior, — question not then pressed.
EVE of material more refined than dust
Was formed; but ne'er of this would make her boast.
Made like to God in dignity and grace,
As representatives of the human race,
In beauteous Eden, beauteous there they stood,
Knowing no evil, knowing only good;
'Twas from God's perfect hand that ADAM came;
His Maker gave him an appropriate name.
EVE, gently taken from her husband's side,
God kindly gave to ADAM for his bride.
ADAM the stronger, so to weaker EVE
The Tempter came, with purpose to deceive.
They knew the good, but her ambitious soul
Would know the evil too; and so the whole
Great family of man with WOMAN fell!
The miseries resultant who can tell?
ADAM she tempts; and so he fell with her,
And thus they both the Maker's frown incur.
O WOMAN! justly doomed to greater woe
Henceforth than MAN, though guilty, e'er will know!


Sources

Baldwin, Emily Foote. Flora: and Other Poems, Grave and Humorous, for the Domestic Circle. Hartford: Brown & Gross, 1879.

Goodwin, Nathaniel. The Foote Family: Or, The Descendants of Nathaniel Foote, One of the First Settlers of Wethersfield, Conn., with Genealogical Notes of Pasco Foote, who settled in Salem, Mass., and John Foote and Others of the Name, who Settled More Recently in New York. Press of Case, Tiffany, 1849.