Avery Kim '24

Sra. García speaks to female education rights as she discusses Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz’s “Sátira filosófica.”

“Sátira filosófica” – Señora Montserrat García

“I chose this poem in homage to its author, Sor Juan Inés de la Cruz (1648-1695), a Mexican-Spanish poet,” Sra. García said.  “Sor Juana was a nun who lived in Mexico during colonial time, and, refusing to accept her destiny of not being able to receive an education due to her gender, decided to enter a convent where she could read and exercise her mind.  In many of her works, she defended her rights, and, by extension, all women’s right to an education.  This poem is of great significance, because she boldly calls attention to the woman’s experience at her time in her relationship with men, criticizing the inequality she perceived between men and women.”


Sátira filosófica

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz


Argue de inconsecuentes el gusto y la censura de los

hombres que en las mujeres acusan lo que causan


     Hombres necios que acusáis

a la mujer sin razón,

sin ver que sois la ocasión

de lo mismo que culpáis:

     si con ansia sin igual

solicitáis su desdén,

¿por qué queréis que obren bien

si las incitáis al mal?

     Combatís su resistencia

y luego, con gravedad,

decís que fue liviandad

lo que hizo la diligencia.

     Parecer quiere el denuedo

de vuestro parecer loco,

al niño que pone el coco

y luego le tiene miedo.

     Queréis, con presunción necia,

hallar a la que buscáis,

para prentendida, Thais,

y en la posesión, Lucrecia.

     ¿Qué humor puede ser más raro

que el que, falto de consejo,

él mismo empaña el espejo,

y siente que no esté claro?

     Con el favor y el desdén

tenéis condición igual,

quejándoos, si os tratan mal,

burlándoos, si os quieren bien.

     Opinión, ninguna gana;

pues la que más se recata,

si no os admite, es ingrata,

y si os admite, es liviana.

     Siempre tan necios andáis

que, con desigual nivel,

a una culpáis por crüel

y a otra por fácil culpáis.

     ¿Pues cómo ha de estar templada

la que vuestro amor pretende,

si la que es ingrate, ofende,

y la que es tácil, enfada?

     Mas, entre el enfado y pena

que vuestro gusto refiere,

bien haya la que no os quiere

y quejaos en hora buena.

     Dan vuestra amantes penas

a sus libertades alas,

y después de hacerlas malas

las queréis hallar muy buenas.

     ¿Cuál mayor culpa ha tenido

en una pasión errada:

la que cae de rogada,

o el que ruega de caído?

     ¿O cuál es más de culpar,

aunque cualquiera mal haga:

la que peca por la paga,

o el que paga por pecar?

     Pues ¿para qué os espantáis

de la culpa que tenéis?

Queredlas cual las hacéis

o hacedlas cual las buscáis.

     Dejad de solicitar,

y después, con más razón,

acusaréis la afición

de la que os fuere a rogar.

     Bien con muchas armas fundo

que lidia vuestra arrogancia,

pues en promesa e instancia

juntáis diablo, carne y mundo.


“A Philosophical Satire”

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz


She proves the inconsistency of the caprice and criticism

of men who accuse women of what they cause


     Misguided men, who will chastise

a woman when no blame is due,

oblivious that it is you

who prompted what you criticize;

     if your passions are so strong

that you elicit their disdain,

how can you wish that they refrain

when you incite them to their wrong?

     You strive to topple their defense,

and then, with utmost gravity,

you credit sensuality

for what was won with diligence.

     Your daring must be qualified,

your sense is no less senseless than

the child who calls the boogeyman,

then weeps when he is terrified.

     Your mad presumption knows no bounds,

though for a wife you want Lucrece,

in lovers you prefer Thais,

thus seeking blessings to compound.

     If knowingly one clouds a mirror

-was ever humor so absurd

or good counsel so obscured?-

can he lament that it’s not clearer?

     From either favor or disdain

the selfsame purpose you achieve,

if they love, they are deceived,

if they love not, hear you complain.

     There is no woman suits your taste,

though circumspection be her virtue:

ungrateful, she who does not love you,

yet she who does, you judge unchaste.

     You men are such a foolish breed,

appraising with a faulty rule,

the first you charge with being cruel,

the second, easy, you decree.

     So how can she be temperate,

the one who would her love expend?

if not willing, she offends,

but willing, she infuriates.

     Amid the anger and torment

your whimsy causes you to bear,

one may be found who does not care:

how quickly then is grievance vent.

     So lovingly you inflict pain

that inhibitions fly away;

how, after leading them astray,

can you wish them without stain?

     Who does the greater guilt incur

when a passion is misleading?

She who errs and heeds his pleading,

or he who pleads with her to err?

     Whose is the greater guilt therein

when either’s conduct may dismay:

she who sins and takes the pay,

or he who pays her for the sin?

     Why, for sins you’re guilty of,

do you, amazed, your blame debate?

Either love what you create

or else create what you can love.

     Were not it better to forbear,

and thus, with finer motivation,

obtain the unforced admiration

of her you plotted to ensnare?

     But no, I deem you still will revel

in your arms and arrogance,

and in promise and persistence

adjoin flesh and world and devil.


Featured Image by Avery Kim ’24

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