The following advice for womanly conduct was taken from the book, Unto Thee I Grant, which contains writings purportedly from Amenhotep IV of ancient Egypt. Whether he wrote the following or not is less relevant than the wisdom it contains. I have taken the liberty to make a few modifications from the formal English translation in the hopes of bringing it closer to the modern idiom. There are not many texts that extol the virtues of womanhood, and of those that I am aware of, I find this the most extensive and timeless. I hope that you will find it enlightening and empowering.
Listen, fair daughter of love, to the instructions of prudence, and let the precepts of truth sink deep in your heart; so shall the charms of your mind add luster to the elegance of your form; and your beauty like a flower, will retain its sweetness when the bloom has withered.
In the spring of your youth, in the morning of your days, when the eyes of men gaze upon you with delight, and nature whispers in your ear the meaning of their looks; hear with caution their seducing words, guard well your heart, and do not listen to their soft persuasions.
Remember you are manâ€™s reasonable companion, not the slave of his passion; your purpose in life is not merely to satisfy his desires, but to assist him in the toils of life, to soothe him with your tenderness, and acknowledge his care with soft endearments.
Who is she that wins the heart of man; that subdues him with love and reigns in his breast?
She walks in maiden sweetness with innocence in her mind and modesty on her cheek.
Her hands seek employment and her feet do not delight in gadding abroad.
She is clothed in neatness, and fed with temperance, and wears humility and meekness as a crown on her head.
On her tongue dwells music, the sweetness of honey dwells from her lips.
Decency is in all her words; in her answers are mildness and truth.
Submission and obedience are the lessons of her life, and peace and happiness are her reward.
Prudence walks ahead of her and virtue is at her right hand.
Her eyes speak softness and love, but discretion sits on her brow.
The tongue of the licentious is dumb in her presence; the awe of her virtue keeps him silent.
When scandal is busy, and the fame of her neighbor is tossed from tongue to tongue, either she speaks with charity and good nature, or the finger of silence rests on her lips.
Her breast is the mansion of goodness and she suspects no evil in others.
Happy is the man that shall have her for a wife, happy the child that shall call her mother.
She presides in the home and there is peace, she commands with judgment and is obeyed.
She rises in the morning, considers her affairs, and appoints to everyone their proper tasks.
The care of her family is her whole delight, to that alone she applies herself. Elegance with frugality is the decoration of her home.
The prudence of her management is an honor to her husband, and he hears of her praise with secret delight.
She informs the minds of her children with wisdom, and they learn manners from her own goodness.
The word of her mouth is the law of their youth, the motion of her eye commands obedience.
In prosperity she is not puffed up, in adversity she heals the wounds of misfortune with patience.
The burdens of her husband are alleviated by her counsels and sweetened by her endearments; he puts is head in her bosom and receives comfort.
Happy is the man who shall have her for a wife, happy the child that shall call her mother.