Edgar Lee Masters

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A person is never happy till their vague strivings has itself marked out its proper limitations.
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
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Edgar Lee Masters (23 August, 1868 - 5 March, 1950) was an American poet, biographer and dramatist. He is best known for the Spoon River Anthology.


  • In my Spanish cloak,
    And old slouch hat,
    And overshoes of felt,
    And Tyke, my faithful dog,
    And my knotted hickory cane,
    I slipped about with a bull's-eye lantern
    From door to door on the square
  • Blind as I was, I tried to get out
    As the carriage fell in the ditch,
    And was caught in the wheels and killed.
  • Go by reverently, and read with sober care
    How a great people, riding with defiant shouts
    The centaur of Revolution,
    Spurred and whipped to frenzy,
    Shook with terror, seeing the mist of the sea
    Over the precipice they were nearing,
    And fell from his back in precipitate awe
    To celebrate the Feast of the Supreme Being.
  • 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!
  • You may think, passer-by, that Fate
    Is a pit-fall outside of yourself,
    Around which you may walk by the use of foresight
    And wisdom.

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