Alice Duer Miller

(28 July 1874 - 22 August 1942 / New York City, New York)

An Exhortation to Gentleness Poem by Alice Duer Miller


You who are strong, and do not know the need
That weaker spirits feel, but do not plead -­
The need to lean on someone who is strong -
Oh! see you give their silent want good heed.

Be not so busy with your own career,
However noble, that you cannot hear
The sighs of those who look to you for help,
For this is purchasing success too dear.

Many strong men and good, I see, so bent
Upon their own souls' high development
That they have only scorn or tolerance
To give to those who are not thus intent.

Yet, who can answer that it is not true
That those weak souls who spare, where blame is due,
And smile, because too gentle to be stern,
Are not more needed in the world than you?

Submitted: Thursday, March 15, 2012

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