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To a Certain Gentleman

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



(' Women are often tempters to sexual sin and delight in it. . . A recent report of a female probation officer relates that some of the girls who, as we may say euphemistically' had gone astray,' owned to her that they enjoyed the life of the evil house.'
- The Case Against Woman Suffrage, published by the Man-Suffrage Association Opposed to Political Suffrage for Women.)

IT may be so, good sir, it may be so,
Not all who sin are tempted - that we know:
It may be darker things than this are true,
And yet, upon my soul, if I were you ­
A man, no longer young, at peace, secured
From all that tempting women have endured
Of poverty and ignorance and fear
And joy that make youth terrible and dear,
If I were you, before I took my pen
And wrote those words to hearten other men,
And give them greater sense of moral ease
In the long score of common sins like these,
If I were you, I would have held my hand
In fire.
- Ah, well; you would not understand.

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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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