Washington McNeely

Original Text: 
Edgar Lee Masters, Spoon River Anthology, illustrated by Oliver Herford (London: T. Werner Laurie, [1916]): 102-03. 8-NBI Masters New York Public Library
2The father of many children, born of a noble mother,
3All raised there
4In the great mansion-house, at the edge of town.
5Note the cedar tree on the lawn!
7The while my life went on, getting more riches and honors --
8Resting under my cedar tree at evening.
9The years went on.
10I sent the girls to Europe;
11I dowered them when married.
12I gave the boys money to start in business.
13They were strong children, promising as apples
14Before the bitten places show.
15But John fled the country in disgrace.
16Jenny died in child-birth --
17I sat under my cedar tree.
18Harry killed himself after a debauch,
19Susan was divorced --
20I sat under my cedar tree.
21Paul was invalided from over study,
22Mary became a recluse at home for love of a man --
23I sat under my cedar tree.
24All were gone, or broken-winged or devoured by life --
25I sat under my cedar tree.
26My mate, the mother of them, was taken --
27I sat under my cedar tree,
28Till ninety years were tolled.
29O maternal Earth, which rocks the fallen leaf to sleep!


1] Washington McNeely: based on Lewis W. Ross, after whom Lewistown is named: lawyer, Democratic politician, and member of the House of Representatives, for whom see John E. Hallwas, in Spoon River Anthology: An Annotated Edition (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1992): 392-93. Back to Line
6] Ann Arbor: home of the University of Michigan. Rockford: Rockford College, a liberal arts college founded in 1847 in Rockford, Illinois. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
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