19th Century

The 20th Century Girl

She'll stand 'neath her banner unfurl'd

Oh the 20th century girl!
What a wonderful thing she will be!
She’ll evolve from a mystical whirl
A woman unfettered and free;
No corset to crampen her waist,
No crimps to encumber her brain:
Unafraid, bifurcated, unlaced,
Like a goddess of old she will reign!

She’ll wear bloomers a matter of course;
She will vote not a question, of doubt;
She will ride like a man on a horse;
At a club late at night she’ll stay out;
If she chances to love she’ll propose;
To blush will be quite out of date,
She’ll talk politics with her beaux
And out talk her masculine mate.

She’ll be up in the science of things;
She will smoke cigarettes; she will swear
If the servant a dunning note brings,
Or the steak isn’t done to her care.
No longer she’ll powder her nose,
Or cultivate even a curl,
Nor bother with fashion or clothes,
This 20th century girl.

Her voice will be heard in the land;
She’ll dabble in matters of State;
In Council her word will command,
And her whisper the law regulate.
She’ll stand ‘neath her banner unfurl’d,
Inscribed with her principles new.
But the question is what in the world
The new century baby will do?

~ Poem the Melbourne Punch, via the Auckland Observer, 11 Feb 1899




  1. How incredibly prophetic. Very cool, and I wonder about the babies, too… He should have a verse about 20th century girls growing past girlhood and creating babies in petrie dishes at great expense to be raised by a nanny while the 20th century woman keeps influencing matters of state… I suppose he couldn’t see that far ahead…

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