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

15. Mrs. Benjamin Pantier

I KNOW that he told that I snared his soul

With a snare which bled him to death.

And all the men loved him,

And most of the women pitied him.

But suppose you are really a lady, and have delicate tastes,

And loathe the smell of whiskey and onions.

And the rhythm of Wordsworth’s “Ode” runs in your ears,

While he goes about from morning till night

Repeating bits of that common thing;

“Oh, why should the spirit of mortal be proud?”

And then, suppose:

You are a woman well endowed,

And the only man with whom the law and morality

Permit you to have the marital relation

Is the very man that fills you with disgust

Every time you think of it—while you think of it

Every time you see him?

That’s why I drove him away from home

To live with his dog in a dingy room

Back of his office.