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

145. Jacob Godbey

HOW did you feel, you libertarians,

Who spent your talents rallying noble reasons

Around the saloon, as if Liberty

Was not to be found anywhere except at the bar

Or at a table, guzzling?

How did you feel, Ben Pantier, and the rest of you,

Who almost stoned me for a tyrant,

Garbed as a moralist,

And as a wry-faced ascetic frowning upon Yorkshire pudding,

Roast beef and ale and good will and rosy cheer—

Things you never saw in a grog-shop in your life?

How did you feel after I was dead and gone,

And your goddess, Liberty, unmasked as a strumpet,

Selling out the streets of Spoon River

To the insolent giants

Who manned the saloons from afar?

Did it occur to you that personal liberty

Is liberty of the mind,

Rather than of the belly?