Mr. Earle has acquainted me with your wild surmises. Gentlemen: I must convince you of your error; my reputation is at stake. I simply will not be a “brawny male.” Not that I have an aversion to brawny males; au contraire, au contraire. But I cling to my femininity! Is it that you consider brain and brawn so inseparable? — I have thought otherwise. Still, that is all a matter of personal opinion. But, gentlemen: when a woman insists that she is twenty, you must not, must not call her forty-five. That is more than wicked; it is indiscreet. Mr. Ficke, you are a lawyer. I am very much afraid of lawyers. Spare me, kind sir! Take into consideration my youth — for I am indeed but twenty — and my fragility — for “I do protest I am a maid” — and — sleuth me no sleuths! Seriously: I thank you also for the compliment you have unwittingly given me. For tho I do not yet aspire to be forty-five and brawny, if my verse so represents me, I am more gratified than I can say. When I was a little girl, this is what I thought and wrote: Let me not shout into the world’s great ear Ere I have something for the world to hear. Then let my message like an arrow dart And pierce a way into the world’s great heart.
About the headline (FAQ)Excerpt from a letter to Mr. Ficke and Mr. Bynner (December 5, 1912, Camden, Maine). Letter no. 9.
- by Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892 - 1950), no title, written 1912 [author's text not yet checked against a primary source]
Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)
- by Juliana Hall (b. 1958), "To Mr. Ficke and Mr. Bynner", 1993, first performed 1995 [ mezzo-soprano and piano ], from Letters from Edna -- 8 songs for Mezzo and Piano, no. 1 [sung text checked 1 time]
Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
This text was added to the website: 2014-08-22
Line count: 20
Word count: 235