and hearts, and that in its discussion I can dispense with the borrowed charms of rhetoric, and that the theme itself will bring before us the angelic forms and faces of mother, sister, daughter, wife, sweetheart, and will thus possess a mute eloquence of its own, which in your willing ears, at least, will fill out the faltering accents of the speaker.
Given to us by God as a help-mate, the handmaiden of Christian civilization, have we honored or exalted our women, even as the Greeks, Romans
and Egyptians did?
In their pagan mythology and religion they worshipped their women, in their goddesses, as much as their men, in their gods; and temples and statues filled their cities to Juno
, as much as to Jupiter
, Mercury, Vulcan and Apollo
There was not a wood or murmuring stream that was not presided over by some beauteous nymph as its tutelary divinity, assigned by Jove.
All this has passed away with the peoples and empires of the past, and perished from the earth.
The nymphs and goddesses no longer sing with the birds from the woods, nor impress their music upon the murmuring brooks as they go singing on to the sea through the ancient forests.
While this is so, yet nearly one-half of the Christian world seeks Heaven through the mediation of a Jewish woman, and her image appears in every Catholic church and home, the noble christian substitute for the pagan gods and goddesses.
The mother of the Saviour has taken the place of fabled mythology.
But in this broad Protestant land the only monuments erected to woman, except Mary Washington
, lately finished, are the obelisk or Cleopatra
's needle, in Central Park
, New York city, and the great statue of ‘Liberty Enlightening the World,’ at the mouth of New York harbor—one given us by the French
, and the other sent us by the Egyptians; the one perpetuating the memory of a bad woman, Caesar
's and Mark Anthony
's mistress, and the other representing a pagan goddess, in whose name all the agonies, bloodshed and horror of the French Revolution
But while the vices of an Egyptian woman speaks in one, and the social and political throes and orgies of a great and noble people, seeking freedom and its blessings through oceans of blood and slaughter, speak to us through the other, yet, until this Mary Washington
monument, unveiled the other day, there was no monument to an American woman.
Thanks be to God that the first recognition of woman in a monument on the American
continent comes to us in a Virginia woman and on Virginia