Lambert Hutchins

Original Text: 
Edgar Lee Masters, Spoon River Anthology, illustrated by Oliver Herford (London: T. Werner Laurie, [1916]): 149. 8-NBI Masters New York Public Library
2One, the house I built on the hill,
3With its spires, bay windows, and roof of slate;
4The other, the lake-front in Chicago,
5Where the railroad keeps a switching yard,
6With whistling engines and crunching wheels,
7And smoke and soot thrown over the city,
8And the crash of cars along the boulevard, --
9A blot like a hog-pen on the harbor
10Of a great metropolis, foul as a sty.
11I helped to give this heritage
12To generations yet unborn, with my vote
13In the House of Representatives,
14And the lure of the thing was to be at rest
15From the never-ending fright of need,
16And to give my daughters gentle breeding,
17And a sense of security in life.
18But, you see, though I had the mansion house
19And traveling passes and local distinction,
20I could hear the whispers, whispers, whispers,
21Wherever I went, and my daughters grew up
22With a look as if some one were about to strike them;
23And they married madly, helter-skelter,
24Just to get out and have a change.
25And what was the whole of the business worth?
26Why, it wasn't worth a damn!


1] John E. Hallwas, in Spoon River Anthology: An Annotated Edition (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1992): 403-04, identifies Hutchins as Edward Laning of Petersburg, a state senator, whose house is now The Oaks Bed and Breakfast, and who is buried in Oakland Cemetery there. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: