Home  »  Spoon River Anthology  »  201. Hamlet Micure

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

201. Hamlet Micure

IN a lingering fever many visions come to you:

I was in the little house again

With its great yard of clover

Running down to the board-fence,

Shadowed by the oak tree,

Where we children had our swing.

Yet the little house was a manor hall

Set in a lawn, and by the lawn was the sea.

I was in the room where little Paul

Strangled from diphtheria,

But yet it was not this room—

It was a sunny verandah enclosed

With mullioned windows,

And in a chair sat a man in a dark cloak,

With a face like Euripides.

He had come to visit me, or I had gone to visit him—

I could not tell.

We could hear the beat of the sea, the clover nodded

Under a summer wind, and little Paul came

With clover blossoms to the window and smiled.

Then I said: “What is ‘divine despair,’ Alfred?”

“Have you read ‘Tears, Idle Tears’?” he asked.

“Yes, but you do not there express divine despair.”

“My poor friend,” he answered, “that was why the despair

Was divine.”