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

49. Dr. Siegfried Iseman

I SAID when they handed me my diploma,

I said to myself I will be good

And wise and brave and helpful to others;

I said I will carry the Christian creed

Into the practice of medicine!

Somehow the world and the other doctors

Know what’s in your heart as soon as you make

This high-souled resolution.

And the way of it is they starve you out.

And no one comes to you but the poor.

And you find too late that being a doctor

Is just a way of making a living.

And when you are poor and have to carry

The Christian creed and wife and children

All on your back, it is too much!

That’s why I made the Elixir of Youth,

Which landed me in the jail at Peoria

Branded a swindler and a crook

By the upright Federal Judge!