Quotes from Spoon River Anthology

Edgar Lee Masters ·  112 pages

Rating: (7.5K votes)


“To this generation I would say:
Memorize some bit of verse of truth or beauty.”
― Edgar Lee Masters, quote from Spoon River Anthology


“To put meaning in one's life may end in madness,
But life without meaning is the torture
Of restlessness and vague desire--
It is a boat longing for the sea and yet afraid.”
― Edgar Lee Masters, quote from Spoon River Anthology


“The tongue may be an unruly member--
But silence poisons the soul.”
― Edgar Lee Masters, quote from Spoon River Anthology


“In time you shall see Fate approach you
In the shape of your own image in the mirror.”
― Edgar Lee Masters, quote from Spoon River Anthology


“And I never started to plow in my life
That some one did not stop in the road
And take me away to a dance or picnic.
I ended up with forty acres;
I ended up with a broken fiddle—
And a broken laugh, and a thousand memories,
And not a single regret.”
― Edgar Lee Masters, quote from Spoon River Anthology



“the much-sought prize of eternal youth
Is just arrested growth.”
― Edgar Lee Masters, quote from Spoon River Anthology


“Act well your part,
there all the honor lies.”
― Edgar Lee Masters, quote from Spoon River Anthology


“I tramped through the country
To get the feeling
That I was not a separate thing from the earth.
I used to lose myself
By lying with eyes half-open in the woods.
Sometimes I talked with animals…”
― Edgar Lee Masters, quote from Spoon River Anthology


“Viandante,
amare è ritrovare la propria anima
traverso l'anima dell'amato.
Quando l'amato se ne stacca,
allora tu l'hai perduta.
È scritto: "Ho un amico,
ma il mio dolore non ha amici".”
― Edgar Lee Masters, quote from Spoon River Anthology


“Back of every soldier is a woman.”
― Edgar Lee Masters, quote from Spoon River Anthology



“Suppose a boy steals an apple
From the tray at the grocery store,
And they all begin to call him a thief,
The editor, minister, judge, and all the people –
«A thief», «a thief», «a thief», wherever he goes.
And he can't get work, and he can't get bread
Without stealing it, why the boy will steal.
It's the way people regard the theft of an apple
That makes the boy what he is.”
― Edgar Lee Masters, quote from Spoon River Anthology


“Go to the good heart that is my husband,
Who broods upon what he calls our guilty love: –
Tell him that my love for you, no less than my love for him
Wrought out my destiny – that through the flesh
I won spirit, and through the spirit, peace.
There is no marriage in heaven,
But there is love.”
― Edgar Lee Masters, quote from Spoon River Anthology


“Thou wert wise to chisel for me:
«Taken from the evil to come».”
― Edgar Lee Masters, quote from Spoon River Anthology


“At last you get in – but you hear a step:
The ogre, Life, comes into the room,
(He was waiting and heard the clang of the spring)
To watch you nibble the wondrous cheese,
And stare with his burning eyes at you,
And scowl and laugh, and mock and curse you,
Running up and down in the trap,
Until your misery bores him.”
― Edgar Lee Masters, quote from Spoon River Anthology


“This is life's sorrow:
That one can be happy only where two are;
And that our hearts are drawn to stars
Which want us not.”
― Edgar Lee Masters, quote from Spoon River Anthology



“Margaret Fuller Slack I WOULD have been as great as George Eliot But for an untoward fate. For look at the photograph of me made by Penniwit, Chin resting on hand, and deep—set eyes— Gray, too, and far-searching. But there was the old, old problem: Should it be celibacy, matrimony or unchastity? Then John Slack, the rich druggist, wooed me, Luring me with the promise of leisure for my novel, And I married him, giving birth to eight children, And had no time to write. It was all over with me, anyway, When I ran the needle in my hand While washing the baby’s things, And died from lock—jaw, an ironical death. Hear me, ambitious souls, Sex is the curse of life.”
― Edgar Lee Masters, quote from Spoon River Anthology


“KNOWLT HOHEIMER

I was the first fruits of the battle of Missionary Ridge.
When I felt the bullet water my heart
I wished I had staid at home and gone to jail
For stealing the hogs of Curl Trenary,
Instead of running away and joining the army.
Rather a thousand times the country jail
That to lie under his marble figure with wings,
And this granite pedestal
Bearing the words, «Pro Patria».
What do they mean, anyway?”
― Edgar Lee Masters, quote from Spoon River Anthology


“But a man can never avenge himself on the monstrous ogre Life.”
― Edgar Lee Masters, quote from Spoon River Anthology


“Remember the acorn;
It does not devour other acorns.”
― Edgar Lee Masters, quote from Spoon River Anthology


“FALLAS, IL PROCURATORE DI STATO

Io, che brandivo il flagello, che spaccavo le bilance,
che percuotevo con fruste e spade;
io, che odiavo i contravventori della legge;
io, il legalista, inesorabile e amaro,
che spinsi i giurati a impiccare quel pazzo di Barry Holden,
divenni come uno ucciso da una luce troppo abbagliante,
e mi svegliai in faccia a una Verità dalla fronte sanguigna;
forcipi d'acciaio maneggiati malamente da un dottore
contro la testa del mio bimbo che nasceva
lo resero idiota.
Per curarlo e accudirlo
mi diedi a libri di scienza.
Ecco come il mondo di coloro che hanno mente malata
divenne il mio compito e tutto il mio mondo.
Povero ragazzo distrutto! Tu fosti, alla fine, il vasaio,
ed io, in tutti i miei atti di carità,
il vaso sotto le tue mani.”
― Edgar Lee Masters, quote from Spoon River Anthology



“EMILY SPARKS

Dov'è il mio bambino, il mio bambino -
in quale remota parte del mondo?
il bambino che a scuola amavo più di tutti?-
Io, la maestra, la vecchia zitella, il vergine cuore,
che li sentivo tutti miei figli.
M'ingannai col mio bambino
a giudicarlo uno spirito ardente,
attivo, mai pago?
Oh bambino, bambino, per cui pregai e pregai
in tante ore di veglia la notte,
ricordi la lettera che ti scrissi
sulla bellezza dell'amore di Cristo?
E che tu che l'abbia ricevuta o no,
bambino mio, dovunque tu sia,
opera per la salvezza dell'anima tua,
che tutto il fango, tutta la feccia in te,
ceda finalmente al fuoco che è in te,
finché il fuoco sia solo luce!...
Solo luce!”
― Edgar Lee Masters, quote from Spoon River Anthology


“Mentre la baciavo con l’anima sulle labbra, l’anima d’improvviso mi fuggì”
― Edgar Lee Masters, quote from Spoon River Anthology


“FIDDLER JONES

The earth keeps some vibration going
There in your heart, and that is you.
And if the people find you can fiddle,
Why, fiddle you must, for all your life.
What do you see, a harvest of clover?
Or a meadow to walk through to the river?
The wind's in the corn; you rub your hands
For beeves hereafter ready for the market;
Or else you hear the rustle of skirts.
Like the girls when dancing at Little Grove.
To Cooney Potter a pillar of dust
Or whirling leaves meant ruinous drouth;
They looked to me like Red-Head Sammy
Stepping it off, to Toor-a-Loor.
How could I till my forty acres
Not to speak of getting more,
With a medley of horns, bassoons and piccolos
Stirred in my brain by crows and robins
And the creak of a will-mill – only these?
And I never started to plow in my life
That some one did not stop in the road
And take me away to a dance or picnic.
I ended up with forty acres;
I ended up with a broken fiddle –
And a broken laugh, and a thousand memories,
And not a single regret.”
― Edgar Lee Masters, quote from Spoon River Anthology


“O world, that's you!
You are but a widened place in the river
Where Life looks down and we rejoice for her
Mirrored in us, and so we dream
And turn away”
― Edgar Lee Masters, quote from Spoon River Anthology


About the author

Edgar Lee Masters
Born place: in Garnett, KS, The United States
Born date August 23, 1868
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