Home  »  Spoon River Anthology  »  55. Lucius Atherton

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

55. Lucius Atherton

WHEN my moustache curled,

And my hair was black,

And I wore tight trousers

And a diamond stud,

I was an excellent knave of hearts and took many a trick.

But when the gray hairs began to appear—

Lo! a new generation of girls

Laughed at me, not fearing me,

And I had no more exciting adventures

Wherein I was all but shot for a heartless devil,

But only drabby affairs, warmed-over affairs

Of other days and other men.

And time went on until I lived at Mayer’s restaurant,

Partaking of short-orders, a gray, untidy,

Toothless, discarded, rural Don Juan.…

There is a mighty shade here who sings

Of one named Beatrice;

And I see now that the force that made him great

Drove me to the dregs of life.