“You mount your throne and preach, chapter and verse
– All nonsense – and you tell me it’s a curse
To marry a poor woman, she’s expensive;
Or if her family is wealthy and extensive
You say it’s torture to endure her pride
And melancholy airs, and more beside.
And if she has a pretty face, old traitor,
You say she’s game for any fornicator
And ask what likelihood will keep her straight
With all those men who lie about in wait.
You say that some desire us for our wealth,
Some for our shapeliness, our looks, our health,
Some for our singing, others for our dancing
Some for our gentleness and dalliant glancing,
And some because our hands are so small
By your account the devil gets us all.”
– The Wife of Bath from the Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer.