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Best Famous Edgar Lee Masters Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Edgar Lee Masters poems. This is a select list of the best famous Edgar Lee Masters poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Edgar Lee Masters poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Edgar Lee Masters poems.

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Written by Edgar Lee Masters |

Doc Hill

I went up and down the streets
Here and there by day and night,
Through all hours of the night caring for the poor who were sick.
Do you know why? My wife hated me, my son went to the dogs.
And I turned to the people and poured out my love to them.
Sweet it was to see the crowds about the lawns on the day of my funeral, And hear them murmur their love and sorrow.
But oh, dear God, my soul trembled, scarcely able To hold to the railing of the new life When I saw Em Stanton behind the oak tree At the grave, Hiding herself, and her grief!

Written by Edgar Lee Masters |

Seth Compton

When I died, the circulating library
Which I built up for Spoon River,
And managed for the good of inquiring minds,
Was sold at auction on the public square,
As if to destroy the last vestige
Of my memory and influence.
For those of you who could not see the virtue Of knowing Volney's "Ruins" as well as Butler's "Analogy" And "Faust" as well as "Evangeline," Were really the power in the village, And often you asked me, "What is the use of knowing the evil in the world?" I am out of your way now, Spoon River, Choose your own good and call it good.
For I could never make you see That no one knows what is good Who knows not what is evil; And no one knows what is true Who knows not what is false.

Written by Edgar Lee Masters |

Harry Wilmans

 I was just turned twenty-one,
And Henry Phipps, the Sunday-school superintendent,
Made a speech in Bindle's Opera House.
"The honor of the flag must be upheld," he said, "Whether it be assailed by a barbarous tribe of Tagalogs Or the greatest power in Europe.
" And we cheered and cheered the speech and the flag he waved As he spoke.
And I went to the war in spite of my father, And followed the flag till I saw it raised By our camp in a rice field near Manila, And all of us cheered and cheered it.
But there were flies and poisonous things; And there was the deadly water, And the cruel heat, And the sickening, putrid food; And the smell of the trench just back of the tents Where the soldiers went to empty themselves; And there were the whores who followed us, full of syphilis; And beastly acts between ourselves or alone, With bullying, hatred, degradation among us, And days of loathing and nights of fear To the hour of the charge through the steaming swamp, Following the flag, Till I fell with a scream, shot through the guts.
Now there's a flag over me in Spoon River! A flag! A flag!

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Written by Edgar Lee Masters |

Julia Miller

 We quarreled that morning,
For he was sixty-five, and I was thirty,
And I was nervous and heavy with the child
Whose birth I dreaded.
I thought over the last letter written me By that estranged young soul Whose betrayal of me I had concealed By marrying the old man.
Then I took morphine and sat down to read.
Across the blackness that came over my eyes I see the flickering light of these words even now: "And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To-day thou shalt Be with me in paradise.

Written by Edgar Lee Masters |

The Hill

 Where are Elmer, Herman, Bert, Tom, and Charley,
The weak of will, the strong of arm, the clown, the boozer, the fighter?
All, all, are sleeping on the hill.
One passed in a fever, One was burned in a mine, One was killed in a brawl, One died in jail, One fell from a bridge toiling for children and wife-- All, all are sleeping, sleeping, sleeping on the hill.
Where are Ella, Kate, Mag, Lizzie, and Edith, The tender heart, the simple soul, the loud, the proud, the happy one?-- All, all, are sleeping on the hill.
One died in shameful child-birth, One of a thwarted love, One at the hands of a brute in a brothel, One of a broken pride, in a search for a heart's desire, One after life in faraway London and Paris Was brought to her little space by Ella and Kate and Mag-- All, all are sleeping, sleeping, sleeping on the hill.
Where are Uncle Issac and Aunt Emily, And old Towny Kincaid and Sevigne Houghton, And Major Walker who had talked With veneravle men of the revolution?-- All, all, are sleeping on the hill.
They brought them dead sons from the war, And daughters whom life had crushed, And their children fatherless, crying-- All, all are sleeping, sleeping, sleeping on the hill.
Where is old Fiddler Jones Who played with life all his ninety years, Braving the sleet with bared breast, Drinking, rioting, thinking neither of wife nor kin, Nor gold, nor love, nor heaven? Lo! he babbles of the fish-frys of long ago, Of the horse-races long ago at Clary's Grove, Of what Abe Lincoln said One time at Springfield.

Written by Edgar Lee Masters |

Jim Brown

 While I was handling Dom Pedro
I got at the thing that divides the race between men who are
For singing "Turkey in the straw" or "There is a fountain filled with blood" --
(Like Rile Potter used to sing it over at Concord);
For cards, or for Rev.
Peet's lecture on the holy land; For skipping the light fantastic, or passing the plate; For Pinafore, or a Sunday school cantata; For men, or for money; For the people or against them.
This was it: Rev.
Peet and the Social Purity Club, Headed by Ben Pantier's wife, Went to the Village trustees, And asked them to make me take Dom Pedro From the barn of Wash McNeely, there at the edge of town, To a barn outside of the corporation, On the ground that it corrupted public morals.
Well, Ben Pantier and Fiddler Jones saved the day -- They thought it a slam on colts.

Written by Edgar Lee Masters |

Lilian Stewart

 I was the daughter of Lambert Hutchins,
Born in a cottage near the grist-mill,
Reared in the mansion there on the hill,
With its spires, bay-windows, and roof of slate.
How proud my mother was of the mansion! How proud of father's rise in the world! And how my father loved and watched us, And guarded our happiness.
But I believe the house was a curse, For father's fortune was little beside it; And when my husband found he had married A girl who was really poor, He taunted me with the spires, And called the house a fraud on the world, A treacherous lure to young men, raising hopes Of a dowry not to be had; And a man while selling his vote Should get enough from the people's betrayal To wall the whole of his family in.
He vexed my life till I went back home And lived like an old maid till I died, Keeping house for father.

Written by Edgar Lee Masters |

Mrs. Purkapile

 He ran away and was gone for a year.
When he came home he told me the silly story Of being kidnapped by pirates on Lake Michigan And kept in chains so he could not write me.
I pretended to believe it, though I knew very well What he was doing, and that he met The milliner, Mrs.
Williams, now and then When she went to the city to buy goods, as she said.
But a promise is a promise And marriage is marriage, And out of respect for my own character I refused to be drawn into a divorce By the scheme of a husband who had merely grown tired Of his marital vow and duty.

Written by Edgar Lee Masters |

Roger Heston

 Oh many times did Ernest Hyde and I
Argue about the freedom of the will.
My favorite metaphor was Prickett's cow Roped out to grass, and free you know as far As the length of the rope.
One day while arguing so, watching the cow Pull at the rope to get beyond the circle Which she had eaten bare, Out came the stake, and tossing up her head, She ran for us.
"What's that, free-will or what?" said Ernest, running.
I fell just as she gored me to my death.

Written by Edgar Lee Masters |

William H. Herndon

 There by the window in the old house
Perched on the bluff, overlooking miles of valley,
My days of labor closed, sitting out life's decline,
Day by day did I look in my memory,
As one who gazes in an enchantress' crystal globe,
And I saw the figures of the past,
As if in a pageant glassed by a shining dream,
Move through the incredible sphere of time.
And I saw a man arise from the soil like a fabled giant And throw himself over a deathless destiny, Master of great armies, head of the republic, Bringing together into a dithyramb of recreative song The epic hopes of a people; At the same time Vulcan of sovereign fires, Where imperishable shields and swords were beaten out From spirits tempered in heaven.
Look in the crystal! See how he hastens on To the place where his path comes up to the path Of a child of Plutarch and Shakespeare.
O Lincoln, actor indeed, playing well your part, And Booth, who strode in a mimic play within the play, Often and often I saw you, As the cawing crows winged their way to the wood Over my house-top at solemn sunsets, There by my window, Alone.

Written by Edgar Lee Masters |

Percival Sharp

 Observe the clasped hands!
Are they hands of farewell or greeting,
Hands that I helped or hands that helped me?
Would it not be well to carve a hand
With an inverted thumb, like Elagabalus?
And yonder is a broken chain,
The weakest-link idea perhaps --
But what was it?
And lambs, some lying down,
Others standing, as if listening to the shepherd --
Others bearing a cross, one foot lifted up --
Why not chisel a few shambles?
And fallen columns! Carve the pedestal, please,
Or the foundations; let us see the cause of the fall.
And compasses and mathematical instruments, In irony of the under tenants' ignorance Of determinants and the calculus of variations.
And anchors, for those who never sailed.
And gates ajar -- yes, so they were; You left them open and stray goats entered your garden.
And an eye watching like one of the Arimaspi -- So did you -- with one eye.
And angels blowing trumpets -- you are heralded -- It is your horn and your angel and your family's estimate.
It is all very well, but for myself I know I stirred certain vibrations in Spoon River Which are my true epitaph, more lasting than stone.

Written by Edgar Lee Masters |

Anne Rutledge

 Out of me unworthy and unknown 
The vibrations of deathless music; 
'With malice toward none, with charity for all.
' Out of me the forgiveness of millions toward millions, And the beneficient face of a nation Shining with justice and truth.
I am Anne Rutledge who sleep beneath these weeds, Beloved in life of Abraham Lincoln, Wedded to him, not through union, But through separation.
Bloom forever, O Republic, From the dust of my bosom!

Written by Edgar Lee Masters |

Walter Simmons

 My parents thought that I would be
As great as Edison or greater:
For as a boy I made balloons
And wondrous kites and toys with clocks
And little engines with tracks to run on
And telephones of cans and thread.
I played the cornet and painted pictures, Modeled in clay and took the part Of the villain in the "Octoroon.
" But then at twenty-one I married And had to live, and so, to live I learned the trade of making watches And kept the jewelry store on the square, Thinking, thinking, thinking, thinking, -- Not of business, but of the engine I studied the calculus to build.
And all Spoon River watched and waited To see it work, but it never worked.
And a few kind souls believed my genius Was somehow hampered by the store.
It wasn't true.
The truth was this: I didn't have the brains.

Written by Edgar Lee Masters |

George Gray

 I have studied many times
The marble which was chiseled for me --
A boat with a furled sail at rest in a harbor.
In truth it pictures not my destination But my life.
For love was offered me and I shrank from its disillusionment; Sorrow knocked at my door, but I was afraid; Ambition called to me, but I dreaded the chances.
Yet all the while I hungered for meaning in my life.
And now I know that we must lift the sail And catch the winds of destiny Wherever they drive the boat.
To put meaning in one's life may end in madness, But life without meaning is the torture Of restlessness and vague desire -- It is a boat longing for the sea and yet afraid.

Written by Edgar Lee Masters |

Ida Chicken

 After I had attended lectures
At our Chautauqua, and studied French
For twenty years, committing the grammar
Almost by heart,
I thought I'd take a trip to Paris
To give my culture a final polish.
So I went to Peoria for a passport -- (Thomas Rhodes was on the train that morning.
) And there the clerk of the district Court Made me swear to support and defend The constitution -- yes, even me -- Who couldn't defend or support it at all! And what do you think? That very morning The Federal Judge, in the very next room To the room where I took the oath, Decided the constitution Exempted Rhodes from paying taxes For the water works of Spoon River!