Home  »  Spoon River Anthology  »  118. John Hancock Otis

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

118. John Hancock Otis

AS to democracy, fellow citizens,

Are you not prepared to admit

That I, who inherited riches and was to the manner born,

Was second to none in Spoon River

In my devotion to the cause of Liberty?

While my contemporary, Anthony Findlay,

Born in a shanty and beginning life

As a water carrier to the section hands,

Then becoming a section hand when he was grown,

Afterwards foreman of the gang, until he rose

To the superintendency of the railroad,

Living in Chicago,

Was a veritable slave driver,

Grinding the faces of labor,

And a bitter enemy of democracy.

And I say to you, Spoon River,

And to you, O republic,

Beware of the man who rises to power

From one suspender.