(To defend them against the scandalous reportes of a late Surfeiting Lover, and all other like Venerians that complaine so to bee overcloyed with womens kindnesse. by Jane Anger, fl. 1589.)
London: Printed by Richard Jones, and Thomas Orwin. 1589.
To the Gentlewomen
of ENGLAND, health.
GEntlewomen, though it is to be feared that your setled wits wil advisedly condemne that, which my cholloricke vaine hath rashly set downe, and so perchance, ANGER shal reape anger for not agreeing with diseased persons: Yet (if with indifferencie of censure, you consider of the head of the quarell) I hope you will rather shew your selves defendantes of the defenders title, then complainantes of the plaintifes wrong. I doubt judgement before trial, which were injurious to the Law, and I confesse that my rashnesse deserveth no lesse, which was a fit of my extremitie. I will not urge reasons because your wits are sharp and will soone conceive my meaning, ne will I be tedious least I proove too too troublesome, nor over darke in my writing, for feare of the name of a Ridler. But (in a worde) for my presumption I crave pardon, because it was ANGER that did write it: committing your protection, and my selfe, to the protection of your selves, and the judgement of the cause to the censures of your just mindes. Yours ever at commandement,
To all Women in generall,
and gentle Reader whatsoever.
FIE on the falshoode of men, whose minds goe oft a madding, & whose tongues can not so soone bee wagging, but straight they fal a railing. Was there ever any so abused, so slaundered, so railed upon, or so wickedly handeled undeservedly, as are we women? Will the Gods permit it, the Goddesses stay theyr punishing judgments, and we ourselves not pursue their undoinges for such divelish practises? O Paules steeple and Charing Crosse. A halter hold al such persons. Let the streames of the channels in London streates run so swiftly, as they may be able alone to carrie them from that sanctuarie. Let the stones be as Ice, the soales of their shooes as Glasse, the waies steep like Ætna, & every blast a Whyrl-wind puffed out of Boreas his long throat, that these may hasten their passage to the Devils haven. Shal Surfeiters raile on our kindnes, you stand stil & say nought, and shall not Anger stretch the vaines of her braines, the stringes of her fingers, and the listes of her modestie, to answere their Surfeitings? Yes truely. And herein I conjure all you to aide and assist me in defence of my willingnes, which shall make me rest at your commaundes. Fare you well.
A Protection for
The desire that every man hath to shewe his true vaine in writing is unspeakable, and their mindes are so caried away with the manner, as no care at all is had of the matter: they run so into Rethorick, as often times they overrun the boundes of their own wits, and goe they knowe not whether. If they have stretched their invention so hard on a last, as it is at a stand, there remaines but one help, which is, to write of us women: If they may once encroch so far into our presence, as they may but see the lyning of our outermost garment, they straight think that Apollo honours them, in yeelding so good a supply to refresh their sore overburdened heads, through studying for matters to indite off. And therfore that the God may see how thankfully they receive his liberality, (their wits whetted, and their braines almost broken with botching his bountie) they fall straight to dispraising and slaundering our silly sex. But judge what the cause should be, of this their so great malice towards simple women. Doubtles the weaknesse of our wits, and our honest bashfulnesse, by reason wherof they suppose that there is not one amongst us who can, or dare reproove their slanders and false reproches: their slaunderous tongues are so short, and the time wherin they have lavished out their...