I found a wonderful site, Scribd, that lets you up and download documents.
I cruised around, uploaded five documents of my own, and ended up at a Shakespeare area. I immediately remembered my spiritual pleasure when I read Venus and Adonis, an epic poem.
The introduction starts this way (it was the 16th Century):
TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE HENRY WRIOTHESLEY,
EARL OF SOUHAMPTON, AND BARON OF TICHFIELD.
I know not how I shall offend in dedicating my unpolished lines
to your lordship, nor how the world will censure me for choosing
so strong a prop to support so weak a burthen: only, if your
honour seem but pleased, I account myself highly praised, and vow
to take advantage of all idle hours, till I have honoured you
with some graver labour.
And this was a man who began this work with these splendid words:
EVEN as the sun with purple-colour’d face
Had ta’en his last leave of the weeping morn,
Rose-cheek’d Adonis tried him to the chase;
Hunting he lov’d, but love he laugh’d to scorn;
Sick-thoughted Venus makes amain unto him,
And like a bold-fac’d suitor ‘gins to woo him.
Another very strong woman I’m familiar with is Táhirih.
Here’s some of what Wikipedia has to say about her:
While in Karbala in Iraq, Táhirih started teaching her new faith. After some of the Shi`ah clergy complained, the government moved her to Baghdad. There she started giving public statements teaching the new faith, and challenging and debating issues with the Shi’a clergy. At this point the authorities in Baghdad argued with the Governor that since Táhirih was Persian she should instead be arguing her case in Iran, and the authorities escorted Táhirih and a number of other Bábís out of Baghdad to the Persian border….
After the Báb’s arrest in 1848, Bahá’u’lláh made arrangements for Táhirih to leave Tehran and attend a conference of Bábí leaders in Badasht. She is perhaps best remembered for appearing in public without her veil….
She was in her early to mid 30’s and was killed in the garden of Ilkhani in Tehran. A prominent Bábí, and subsequently Bahá’í, historian cites the wife of an officer who had the chance to know her that she was strangled by a drunken officer of the government with her own veil which she had chosen for her anticipated martyrdom. Afterwards her body was thrown into a well located in the garden. One of her most notable quotes is her final utterance,
“You can kill me as soon as you like,
but you cannot stop the emancipation of women.”