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O Fair Maiden, How Chaste Thou Art

Updated on May 16, 2014

O Fair Maiden, how chaste thou art.

I was feeling a bit sentimental this weekend as I happened to pick up one of my wife’s many toiletry decorations, one small book titled “Love; a treasury of verse and prose scented by Penhaligon’s.” Not only did it smell delightful, I was rendered transfixed among the classics of Shakespeare, Dante, Bronte, Copperfield and many others. One particular piece struck me more so than others. It was William Makepeace Thackebay’s “Be Cautious”

“Be cautious then, young ladies; be wary how you engage. Be shy of loving frankly; never tell all you feel, or (a better way still) feel very little. See the consequences of being prematurely honest and confiding, and mistrust yourselves and everybody. Get yourselves married as they do in France , where the lawyers are the bridesmaids and confidants. At any rate, never have any feelings which may make you uncomfortable, or make any promises which you cannot at any required moment command and withdraw. That is the way to get on, and be respected, and have a virtuous character in Vanity Fair.”

My God, could you imagine dispensing with this advice to your young daughters today? Kim Gandy and Gloria Allred would come busting in your door, wailing what an abusive and dangerous parent you are. Code Pink would march across my lawn smeared in war paint, showing unkempt cleavage that would cause a prison inmate to wretch. But I digress…

I am old fashioned in that I respect a woman who plays hard to get, uses her intellect to avoid the obvious and makes the chase worth while. I am also old fashioned because I believe groups like “friends with benefits” and “hookup lookup” are frighteningly reconstructing modern day Sodom and Gomorra. What is lost today is the innocence of young men and women. There is hardly a chance for real romantic adventure in a pure discovery sense. By the time a boy reaches 18 he has learned all of the wrong characteristics which make women beautiful in place of what makes them intimately special. Young men graduate high school knowing how to quickly score a shallow connection, but how many know that a woman can change them into leaders?

Feminist groups have destroyed the concept of chastity, prudence, sensual mysteriousness and postponed gratification. There is not mystique left for a boy and girl living in the 21st century. Okay, maybe with the Amish, but that is pretty extreme. Do not get me wrong, there are plenty of Lady Macbeths, but woman already out number men so we wouldn’t want to establish a society of black widows.

As the father of a little girl I am already feeling the uneasiness of what vultures and wolves will prey upon her future. The 21st century has made it much harder for parents to control the level of adult input a child absorbs. School boards are rapid in their pursuit to indoctrinate our children’s sexuality. Is purity so overrated that adults cannot wait to pierce the naivety of young minds?

Is chivalry dead?

“I feel sad when I don’t see you. Be married, why won’t you? And come to live with me. I will make you as happy as I can. You shall not be obliged to work hard: and when you are tired; you may lie in my lap and I will sing you to rest...I will play you a tune upon the violin as often as you ask and as well as I can; and leave off smoking, If you say so…I would always be very kind to you, I think, because I love you so well. I will not make you bring in wood and water, or feed the pig or milk the cow, or go to the neighbors to borrow milk. Will you be married? (“Will you be married?” Letter from an American Suitor, 19th century.)

Ladies, do you not tire of the mind games equality has wrought upon you? Those kinds of thoughts that conflict with deciding if a man is kind or chauvinist? If he opens the door for you, is he polite or treating you as feeble? If he pays for your dinner on a date, is he expecting sex or showing you he wants to be a caring provider? If he wishes to court you and not rapidly devour you in bed, do you question his motives or find him boorish? Have you already decided for yourselves that a family life is second to a successful and fulfilling career? If you are the only one to look back on your singular career, what is so successful about it?

Honestly, I have been married for over 11 years now, maybe I am out of touch, but I am not going to turn my back on providing the best for my family. I will do my best to share counseling responsibilities with my wife while raising our child. I will warn her of the dangers in male sexuality and let her decide what is logical for her life. I will not allow her to be misguided by the notions that men and women are exactly the same. Get over it Harvard! Please, for the sake of society, for the sake of art, for the sake of romance, stop tearing down the beauty of male/female bonding, relationship building and fawning. It would be tragic if the 22nd century had no poets.

“Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments.

Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds, or bends with the remover to remove: O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark.

That looks on tempests and is never shaken; it is the star to every wand’ring bark.

Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken. Love’s not time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks within his bending sickle’s compass come; Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, but bears it out even to the edge of doom:

-If this be error and upon me proved, I never writ, nor no man ever loved.”

William Shakespeare


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    • Jason R. Manning profile image

      Jason R. Manning 5 years ago from Sacramento, California

      Hello Jamila, I am happy to hear that you too find our society wanting of a little romanticism. Given your deep passion for art and music, I can only assume how much more aware you are of this rift. Modern art is quite cold (my opinion) compared to the classics. I certainly appreciate creative photography, but the paintings today are really irrelevant in many cases.

      Modern technology is killing the pursuit of love, destroying delayed gratification and rendering fondness mute. Dating sites are great for those who have found a great mate, but without the delay that sets a passion ablaze, the mind loses an important muse in poetic art. Or, I am just really weird, could be both…Cheers, thank you for reading and leaving a great comment.

    • jamila sahar profile image

      jamila sahar 5 years ago

      greatings, very interesting hub. i am delighted to see i am not the only person with 'old fashioned' morals and tastes. this is why i prefer and enjoy watching the old classic movies and i enjoy being a woman. i also am very passionate about my work as an artist (musician) and educator. this world of ours has certainly become quite complex , i prefer the simplicity. best wishes to you and your wife and lovely daughter, i am sure being raised in a nuturing environment with two loving parents she will find her way in the world just fine and be a great example to others as well

    • profile image

      Caesar 5 years ago

      fear not milady, I have been made to see betrayal in the bowels of the earth. yet, my quest for the romantic ideal is not lost because His Majesty, the Divine and Omnipotent One has an advocation to apply my commendation.

    • Sophie's soap box profile image

      Sophie's soap box 6 years ago from Australia

      Thank you. This is very wise advice which I will take on board.

    • Jason R. Manning profile image

      Jason R. Manning 6 years ago from Sacramento, California

      Hello Sophie, thank you for leaving the interesting comment. Certainly you are one embroiled in the modern twist. Being successful and happily married is not a conundrum, but it does take much harder work than being successful and single. I raise the question of how fulfilling is it to be really successful and alone? We are beings who love to share, need companionship and ultimately require a challenging partner. Anything that is easy is not worth the pursuit, would you agree? Take care, thank you for reading.

    • Sophie's soap box profile image

      Sophie's soap box 6 years ago from Australia

      I think that living in the world today, especially in the context of male-female relationships, is a very confusing beast! I'm pretty independant thinking and sometimes I wonder whether I should be less so in romantic settings, so that I don't scare guys off.

      Women are so lucky these days in that they can vote, have an education, earn good money and have more choices as a consequence. It's hard to give that up, especially when and if you have children. You're more vulnerable if you do so (as a woman), so I guess you just have to make sure that you choose a partner who will do the right thing by you.

      It's also very disconcerting when on the one hand you have dreams of meeting a 'tall dark and handsome' stranger and being 'swept off your feet' however on the other, you get a real kick out of being assertive, achieving something fantastic at work or being creatively inspired. It's this constant 'dance' between the two or perhaps more correctly, 'swing of the pendulum' that makes you wonder who you really want to be and whether is it possible to be both. I like to keep them guessing, but sometimes I feel a little dizzy!

    • onegoodwoman profile image

      onegoodwoman 6 years ago from A small southern town

      Mother of three daughters responding...........

      WHERE are the gentile, the well mannered, the chivilarous, the protectors, the providers? WHERE?

      Men, today, think they are in tune with women, but they are not......not really.

      What I have, a " fix it", " hunt it", " skin it" " grill it", "defend it", "wipe the tear from my eye", kind of guy, is what I would wish for my daughter.

      What my daughters have to choose from is so far removed. Young men can no longer rebuild, "fix" or repair automobiles.........they are computer literate.( not that, that is 'bad') , for it too, has value. One young man friend of my daughter, did not know how to " jump " a battery...........even I can do this, using bumper jacks........not a reccomended choice! He did not know the difference between a bumper jack and a screw jack......

      He could not read a tire size........

      The world IS changing.......the HE MAN is in decline, so is the 'do it yourselfer" is, for me, a tragic passing..........

      As an independant woman.......I must ask, is this the result of sufferage, of demanding my own idenity, demanding a fair wage, wanting an equal vote and chance? Is this the result of competeing with 6 brothers? Was I blessed by having brothers, and my daughters cursed by having none?

      Or, is this just another example of society running amok?

      At the end of the day...............yes........there are things that I expect my husband to handle, just because, he is the MAN, and there are those that I will handle, just because, I am the WOMAN.

      When our earning powers are equal, and his spending power is more.......we have a problem.............and I have a solution ( that my brothers shared with me).

    • Jason R. Manning profile image

      Jason R. Manning 6 years ago from Sacramento, California

      Hey Wes, its probably safer for you to pursue woman outside of Texas for fear of reputation, ha. Thanks for the compliment; you can’t have all the good arguments, some of us want to write too. I am sure that you look forward to your correspondence with said young lady in NJ. Isn’t it nice to have that feeling? Make the most of it. Cheers mate.

      SubRon, thanks for the vote and comment. Aye, I hope to see many more votes for manly men to come out and reclaim manhood. Your hubs are equally entertaining and engaging. Hope to see you around more. Thanks.

    • SubRon7 profile image

      James W. Nelson 6 years ago from eastern North Dakota

      Jason R Manning, I like your take on things and I'm glad to see that at least four people want to see more "a few good" men. Thanks for the follow.

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

      Wesman Todd Shaw 6 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      Very good. I also agree with that whole paragraph about "mind games." I sort of wish I'd thought it up myself just like that.

      I'm completely crazy about a woman that I've been talking to online for. . .more than two years now. I've never met her - she's in NJ, and I'm in Texas. I wonder if I'm insane even for spending so much time talking to folks on the internet. . .but I'm not interested in anyone anywhere around my town.

      Crazy world we live in.

    • Jason R. Manning profile image

      Jason R. Manning 6 years ago from Sacramento, California

      Hi GJF,

      Thanks friend for being the first to comment. You are not alone, though I believe even Hollywierd has abandoned the concept of modern day romanticism. If movies like “knocked up” and “She’s outa my league,” are the new provincial standard…the next generation is cursed. Through written and oral tradition, many like us will have to keep it alive. Thanks again.

    • gjfalcone profile image

      gjfalcone 6 years ago from Gilbert, Arizona

      I totally enjoyed your hub. Many times I have wondered if I was being nostlgic or if I was remembering chivalry days found only in fictional works. Well played.gjf