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

116. Ezra Bartlett

A CHAPLAIN in the army,

A chaplain in the prisons,

An exhorter in Spoon River,

Drunk with divinity, Spoon River—

Yet bringing poor Eliza Johnson to shame,

And myself to scorn and wretchedness.

But why will you never see that love of women,

And even love of wine,

Are the stimulants by which the soul, hungering for divinity,

Reaches the ecstatic vision

And sees the celestial outposts?

Only after many trials for strength,

Only when all stimulants fail,

Does the aspiring soul

By its own sheer power

Find the divine

By resting upon itself.