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Edgar Lee Masters (1868–1950). Spoon River Anthology. 1916.

100. Paul McNeely

DEAR Jane! dear winsome Jane!

How you stole in the room (where I lay so ill)

In your nurse’s cap and linen cuffs,

And took my hand and said with a smile:

“You are not so ill—you’ll soon be well.”

And how the liquid thought of your eyes

Sank in my eyes like dew that slips

Into the heart of a flower.

Dear Jane! the whole McNeely fortune

Could not have bought your care of me,

By day and night, and night and day;

Nor paid for you smile, nor the warmth of your soul,

In your little hands laid on my brow.

Jane, till the flame of life went out

In the dark above the disk of night

I longed and hoped to be well again

To pillow my head on your little breasts,

And hold you fast in a clasp of love—

Did my father provide for you when he died,

Jane, dear Jane?