Christine de Pizan’s Book of the City of Ladies was written in reaction to the almost ludicrously misogynistic Lamentations of Maltheolus, written in 1295.
I, who once used to compose and polish off fine poems while my studies flourished and gave me great pleasure, have now fallen on hard times, not because of advancing age, but because of the constant nagging which upsets me. It’s making me old before my time, allowing me no truce or respite. While asleep I dream of battles which end worse than they begin; I feel as if I am constantly at war whether awake or asleep. It’s not surprising if I’m fed up with suffering such a cruel life, a life worse than death; for death stops once it has killed you, whereas this torture goes on and on and yet I must endure it. Since I am dying a terrible death, I should serve as a warning to all other men not to get married and to learn from my mistakes, thereby escaping woman and her wiles. If one’s neighbour’s house is on fire and one sees the flames leaping higher, one ought to fear for one’s own house.
Read further excerpts from Le Fevre’s 1371 -2 translation of Matheolus’s Lamentations here.