The Circuit Judge

Original Text: 
Edgar Lee Masters, Spoon River Anthology, illustrated by Oliver Herford (London: T. Werner Laurie, [1916]): 75. 8-NBI Masters New York Public Library
2Eaten in my head-stone by the wind and rain --
4Were marking scores against me,
5But to destroy, and not preserve, my memory.
7Deciding cases on the points the lawyers scored,
8Not on the right of the matter.
9O wind and rain, leave my head-stone alone!
10For worse than the anger of the wronged,
11The curses of the poor,
12Was to lie speechless, yet with vision clear,
14Hanged by my sentence,
15Was innocent in soul compared with me.


1] John E. Hallwas, in Spoon River Anthology: An Annotated Edition (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1992): 386, identifies the circuit judge as Simeon P. Shope, later justice of the Illinois Supreme Court. Back to Line
3] Nemesis: Greek goddess of fate and scourge of the proud. Back to Line
6] notches: cuts, records. Back to Line
13] Another of Masters' Spoon River characters. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: