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

95. Albert Schirding

JONAS KEENE thought his lot a hard one

Because his children were all failures.

But I know of a fate more trying than that:

It is to be a failure while your children are successes.

For I raised a brood of eagles

Who flew away at last, leaving me

A crow on the abandoned bough.

Then, with the ambition to prefix Honorable to my name,

And thus to win my children’s admiration,

I ran for County Superintendent of Schools,

Spending my accumulations to win—and lost.

That fall my daughter received first prize in Paris

For her picture, entitled, “The Old Mill”—

(It was of the water mill before Henry Wilkin put in steam.)

The feeling that I was not worthy of her finished me.