Edgar Lee Masters poems

Edgar Lee Masters(23 August 1868 - 5 March 1950 / Kansas / United States)
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Alfred Moir

- by Edgar Lee Masters 305

Why was I not devoured by self-contempt,
And rotted down by indifference
And impotent revolt like Indignation Jones?
Why, with all of my errant steps
Did I miss the fate of Willard Fluke?
And why, though I stood at Burchard's bar,
As a sort of decoy for the house to the boys
To buy the drinks, did the curse of drink
Fall on me like rain that runs off,
Leaving the soul of me dry and clean?
And why did I never kill a man
Like Jack McGuire?
But instead I mounted a little in life,
And I owe it all to a book I read.
But why did I go to Mason City,
Where I chanced to see the book in a window,
With its garish cover luring my eye?
And why did my soul respond to the book,
As I read it over and over?

Ballade Of Dead Republics

- by Edgar Lee Masters 111

Tell me ye King-craft of to-day
Where is Athens, who made men free;
Then sank into stupor by the way,
Subdued by the Spartan tyranny?
And Rome that staggered to death, perdie,
Stabbed by the sword of Hannibal,
And bled by patrician infamy --
The Dragon of Greed destroyed them all!

Cleon and Pericles held sway
O'er the foes of Greek democracy.
The Gracchi brothers struggled to stay
The stress of the Ceasars' stern decree.
And look at Rienzi's passion, he
Who strove the republic to recall!
Slain at last for his perfidy --
The Dragon of Greed destroyed them all!

What of Florence and Venice, say?
And the Netherlands that ruled the sea?
And Cromwell's England more strong than they
Which banished the throne and the bended knee?
Yes, and Savonarola's plea,
And William of Orange's rise and fall?
Yea, though they labored for you and me --
The Dragon of Greed destroyed them all!

ENVOY.

Prince! 'tis the year of your jubilee,
The great republic is in your thrall.
And who will restore her armory?--
The Dragon of Greed destroyed them all!

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