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An American to France

Alice Duer Miller 1874 (New York) – 1942 (New York)



O FRANCE, with what a shamed and sorry smile
We now recall that in a bygone day
We sought of you art, wit, perfection, style;
You were to us a playground and a play.
Paris was ours - its sudden green edged spaces
And sweeping vistas to the coming night,
Brocades and jewels, porcelains and laces
All these we took for leisure and delight.
And all the time we should have drunk our fill
Of wisdom known to you and you alone,
Clear-eyed self-knowledge, silent courage, will;
And now too late, we see these things are one:
That art is sacrifice and self-control,
And who loves beauty must be stern of soul.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Alice Duer Miller

Alice Duer Miller was a writer from the U.S. whose poetry actively influenced political opinion. Her feminist verses made an impact on the suffrage issue, and her verse novel The White Cliffs encouraged U.S. entry into World War II. She also wrote novels and screenplays. more…

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