by Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892 - 1950)

Mr. Earle has acquainted me with your...
Language: English 
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.


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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2014-08-22
Line count: 20
Word count: 235