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

42. Jack McGuire

THEY would have lynched me

Had I not been secretly hurried away

To the jail at Peoria.

And yet I was going peacefully home,

Carrying my jug, a little drunk,

When Logan, the marshal, halted me,

Called me a drunken hound and shook me,

And, when I cursed him for it, struck me

With that Prohibition loaded cane—

All this before I shot him.

They would have hanged me except for this:

My lawyer, Kinsey Keene, was helping to land

Old Thomas Rhodes for wrecking the bank,

And the judge was a friend of Rhodes

And wanted him to escape,

And Kinsey offered to quit on Rhodes

For fourteen years for me.

And the bargain was made. I served my time

And learned to read and write.