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

94. Judge Selah Lively

SUPPOSE you stood just five feet two,

And had worked your way as a grocery clerk,

Studying law by candle light

Until you became an attorney at law?

And then suppose through your diligence,

And regular church attendance,

You became attorney for Thomas Rhodes,

Collecting notes and mortgages,

And representing all the widows

In the Probate Court? And through it all

They jeered at your size, and laughed at your clothes

And your polished boots? And then suppose

You became the County Judge?

And Jefferson Howard and Kinsey Keene,

And Harmon Whitney, and all the giants

Who had sneered at you, were forced to stand

Before the bar and say “Your Honor”—

Well, don’t you think it was natural

That I made it hard for them?