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

43. Dorcas Gustine

I WAS not beloved of the villagers,

But all because I spoke my mind,

And met those who transgressed against me

With plain remonstrance, hiding nor nurturing

Nor secret griefs nor grudges.

That act of the Spartan boy is greatly praised,

Who hid the wolf under his cloak,

Letting it devour him, uncomplainingly.

It is braver, I think, to snatch the wolf forth

And fight him openly, even in the street,

Amid dust and howls of pain.

The tongue may be an unruly member—

But silence poisons the soul.

Berate me who will—I am content.