Sor Juana de la Cruz

Poetry Excerpt ~ The Inconsistency of Men

Stupid men, fond of abusing,
All women, without any shame,
Not seeing you're the ones to blame
For the very faults that you're accusing:

If, with a single-minded will,
You seek her well-deserved disdain,
Why do you want her to remain
Good, while inciting her to ill?

You strive to conquer her resistance,
Then with a solemn treachery
Attribute to her lechery
Which was only done through your persistence.

Your mad position seems to fit
That of a child who draws a spook
And, when he dares to take a look,
Finds that he's afraid of it.

Showing presumptuous indiscretion,
You want to find her you're pursuing
To be Thais [Mistress of Alexander the Great] while you are wooing
And Lucretia [Roman matron, famed for virtue, who committed suicide when raped] when she's in possession.

What quirky humor could be more queer
Than his who, from all reason banned,
Smudges a mirror with his hand,
Then whines because it isn't clear?

If favor or disdain we tell,
You give us the same reception, Madly -
Complaining when we treat you badly,
And sneering when we treat you well.

No female reputation's sure;
The most cautious woman in the town
Is an ingrate if she turns you down;
If she gives in to you she's a whore.

In stupidity you're all the same,
Each one an inconsistent fool;
You blame one girl for being cruel,
While the yielding one you also blame.

Your expectation is truly curious,
Of the woman who would seek your love;
The one who's ungrateful you reprove,
And the one who's available makes you furious.

But whatever the ruage, whatever the plaints
That your captricious minds may fashion,
Lucky is one who feels no passion;
Just go somewhere else with your complaints.


Your arrogance fights on every level,
I note, with strong and well-aimed batteries,
For ceaseless promise and flatteries
You unite the world, the flesh, the devil.