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

Index of First Lines

A chaplain in the army
After a long day of work in my hot-houses
After I got religion and steadied down
After I had attended lectures
After you have enriched your soul
A game of checkers?
All they said was true
All your sorrow, Louise, and hatred of me
Almost the shell of a woman after the surgeon’s knife!
As a boy, Theodore, you sat for long hours
A step-mother drove me from home, embittering me
As to democracy, fellow citizens
At first you will know not what they mean
At first I suspected something
At four o’clock in late October
Back and forth, back and forth, to and from the church
Bank broke and I lost my savings, The
Better than granite, Spoon River
Both for the country and for the man
Buzzards wheel slowly, The
Cooper should know about tubs, The
Dear Jane! dear winsome Jane!
Did I follow Truth wherever she led
Did my widow flit about
Did you ever find out
Did you ever hear of Editor Whedon
Did you ever see an alligator
Doc Meyers said I had satyriasis
Do the boys and girls still go to Siever’s
Do you remember, O Delphic Apollo
Do you remember, passer-by, the path
Do you remember when I stood on the steps
Do you think that odes and sermons
Dust of my dust
Earth keeps some vibration going, The
Everyone laughed at Col. Prichard
Father, thou canst never know
From Bindle’s opera house in the village
God! ask me not to record your wonders
Harry Wilmans! You who fell in a swamp
Have any of you, passers-by
Have you seen walking through the village
Henry got me with child
He protested all his life long
He ran away and was gone for a year
Herbert broke our engagement of eight years
Here I lie close to the grave
Here lies the body of Lois Spears
Here! You sons of the men
Horses and men are just alike
How did you feel, you libertarians
How does it happen, tell me
How many times, during the twenty years
I am Minerva, the village poetess
I began with Sir William Hamilton’s lectures
I belonged to the church
I, born in Weimar
I bought every kind of machine that’s known
I could not run or play
Idea danced before us as a flag, The
If a man could bite the giant hand
If I could have lived another year
If the excursion train to Peoria
If the learned Supreme Court of Illinois
If you in the village think that my work was a good one
I grew spiritually fat living off the souls of men
I had fiddled all at the county fair
I had no objection at all
I have studied many times
I have two monuments besides this granite obelisk
I inherited forty acres from my Father
I know that he told that I snared his soul
I leaned against the mantel, sick, sick
I loathed you, Spoon River. I tried to rise above you
I looked like Abraham Lincoln
I lost my patronage in Spoon River
I made two fights for the people
In a lingering fever many visions come to you
I never saw any difference
In life I was the town drunkard
In my Spanish cloak
In the last spring I ever knew
In the lust of my strength
In youth my wings were strong and tireless
I preached four thousand sermons
I ran away from home with the circus
I reached the highest place in Spoon River
I said when they handed me my diploma
I sat on the bank above Bernadotte
Is it true, Spoon River
I spent my money trying to elect you Mayor
I staggered on through darkness
I, the scourge-wielder, balance-wrecker
It is true, fellow citizens
It never came into my mind
I tried to win the nomination
It was just like everything else in life
It was moon-light, and the earth sparkled
It was only a little house of two rooms
I wanted to be County Judge
I wanted to go away to college
I was a gun-smith in Odessa
I was a lawyer like Harmon Whitney
I was among multitudes of children
I was a peasant girl from Germany
I was attorney for the “Q
I was crushed between Altgeld and Armour
I was just turned twenty-one
I was not beloved of the villagers
I was only eight years old
I was sick, but more than that, I was mad
I was sixteen, and I had the most terrible dreams
I was the daughter of Lambert Hutchins
I was the first fruits of the battle of Missionary Ridge
I was the laughing-stock of the village
I was the milliner
I was the only child of Frances Harris of Virginia
I was the Sunday school superintendent
I was the Widow McFarlane
I was well known and much beloved
I was Willie Metcalf
I went to the dances at Chandlerville
I went up and down the streets
I who kept the greenhouse
I winged my bird
I won the prize essay at school
I would have been as great as George Eliot
I would I had thrust my hands of flesh
I wrote him a letter asking him for old times’ sake
Jonas Keene thought his lot a hard one
Knowlt Hoheimer ran away to the war
Maurice, weep not, I am not here under this pine tree
Mr. Kessler, you know, was in the army
My father who owned the wagon-shop
My life’s blossom might have bloomed on all sides
My mind was a mirror
My mother was for woman’s rights
My name used to be in the papers daily
My parents thought that I would be
My thanks, friends of the County Scientific Association
My valiant fight! For I call it valiant
My wife lost her health
Neither spite, fellow citizens
No other man, unless it was Doc Hill
Not “a youth with hoary head and haggard eye
Not character, not fortitude, not patience
Nothing in life is alien to you
Not in that wasted garden
Not, where the stairway turns in the dark
Observe the clasped hands!
Of John Cabanis’ wrath and of the strife
Often Aner Clute at the gate
Oh many times did Ernest Hyde and I
Oh! the dew-wet grass of the meadow in North Carolina
Oh, you young radicals and dreamers
On a mountain top above the clouds
Once in a while a curious weed unknown to me
Only the chemist can tell, and not always the chemist
Out of a cell into this darkened space
Out of me unworthy and unknown
Out of the lights and roar of cities
Over and over they used to ask me
Passer by
Passer-by, sin beyond any sin
Pine woods on the hill, The
Press of the Spoon River Clarion was wrecked, The
Prohibitionists made me Town Marshal, The
Reading in Ovid the sorrowful story of Itys
Reverend Wiley advised me not to divorce him
Rhodes’ slave! Selling shoes and gingham
Rich, honored by my fellow citizens
Samuel is forever talking of his elm
Secret of the stars,—gravitation, The
Seeds in a dry pod, tick, tick, tick
She loved me. Oh! how she loved me!
She took my strength by minutes
Silent before the jury
Spring and Summer, Fall and Winter and Spring
Sudden death of Eugene Carman, The
Suppose it is nothing but the hive
Suppose you stood just five feet two
Take note, passers-by, of the sharp erosions
Tell me, was Altgeld elected Governor?
Their spirits beat upon mine
There at Geneva where Mt. Blanc floated above
There by the window in the old house
There is something about Death
There is the caw of a crow
There would be a knock at the door
They brought me ambrotypes
They called me the weakling, the simpleton
They first charged me with disorderly conduct
They got me into the Sunday-school
They have chiseled on my stone the words
They laughed at me as “Prof. Moon
They told me I had three months to live
They would have lynched me
This I saw with my own eyes
This weeping willow!
To all in the village I seemed, no doubt
To be able to see every side of every question
Together in this grave lie Benjamin Pantier, attorney at law
To this generation I would say
Toward the last
Vegetarian, non-resistant, free-thinker, in ethics a Christian
Very fall my sister Nancy Knapp, The
Very well, you liberals
Well, don’t you see this was the way of it
Well, Emily Sparks, your prayers were not wasted
We quarreled that morning
Were you not ashamed, fellow citizens
We stand about this place—we, the memories
What but the love of God could have softened
What do you see now?
What will you do when you come to die
Whenever the Presbyterian bell
When Fort Sumter fell and the war came
When I died, the circulating library
When I first came to Spoon River
When I went to the city, Mary McNeely
When my moustache curled
When Reuben Pantier ran away and threw me
Where are Elmer, Herman, Bert, Tom and Charley
Where is my boy, my boy
While I was handling Dom Pedro
White men played all sorts of jokes on me, The
Who carved this shattered harp on my stone?
Whoever thou art who passest by
Why are you running so fast hither and thither
Why did Albert Schirding kill himself
Why did you bruise me with your rough places
Why was I not devoured by self-contempt
With our hearts like drifting suns, had we but walked
Ye aspiring ones, listen to the story of the unknown
Yes, here I lie close to a stunted rose bush
Ye who are kicking against Fate
Ye young debaters over the doctrine
You are over there, Father Malloy
You may think, passer-by, that Fate
You never marveled, dullards of Spoon River
You never understood, O unknown one
You observe the carven hand
You praise my self-sacrifice, Spoon River
Your attention, Thomas Rhodes, president of the bank
Your red blossoms amid green leaves
You would not believe, would you