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Edgar Lee Masters
1868-1950

"Mrs. Benjamin Pantier"

(From "Spoon River Anthology" 1915)

 

I know that he told how I snared his soul
With a snare which bled him to death.
And all the men loved him,
And most of the women pitied him.
But suppose you are really a lady, and have delicate tastes,
And loathe the smell of whisky and onions.
And the rhythm of Wordsworth's "Ode" runs in your ears,
While he goes about from morning till night
Repeating bits of that common thing;
"Oh, why should the spirit of mortal be proud?"
And then, suppose:
You are a woman well endowed,
And the only man with whom the law and morality
Permit you to have the marital relation
Is the very man that fills you with disgust
Every time you think of it while you think of it
Every time you see him?
That's why I drove him away from home
To live with his dog
in a dingy room
Back of his office.

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