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

2. Hod Putt

HERE I lie close to the grave

Of Old Bill Piersol,

Who grew rich trading with the Indians, and who

Afterwards took the bankrupt law

And emerged from it richer than ever.

Myself grown tired of toil and poverty

And beholding how Old Bill and others grew in wealth,

Robbed a traveler one night near Proctor’s Grove,

Killing him unwittingly while doing so,

For the which I was tried and hanged.

That was my way of going into bankruptcy.

Now we who took the bankrupt law in our respective ways

Sleep peacefully side by side.