Home  »  Spoon River Anthology  »  160. English Thornton

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

160. English Thornton

HERE! You sons of the men

Who fought with Washington at Valley Forge,

And whipped Black Hawk at Starved Rock,

Arise! Do battle with the descendants of those

Who bought land in the loop when it was waste sand,

And sold blankets and guns to the army of Grant,

And sat in legislatures in the early days,

Taking bribes from the railroads!

Arise! Do battle with the fops and bluffs,

The pretenders and figurantes of the society column,

And the yokel souls whose daughters marry counts;

And the parasites on great ideas,

And the noisy riders of great causes,

And the heirs of ancient thefts.

Arise! And make the city yours,

And the State yours—

You who are sons of the hardy yeomanry of the forties!

By God! If you do not destroy these vermin

My avenging ghost will wipe out

Your city and your state.