Alice Duer Miller

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

To a Certain Gentleman


(' 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.

Submitted: Thursday, March 15, 2012

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