Edgar Lee Masters: Louise Smith and Herbert Marshall (Spoon River Anthology)


HERBERT broke our engagement of eight years

When Annabelle returned to the village

From the Seminary, ah me!

If I had let my love for him alone

It might have grown into a beautiful sorrow—

Who knows? — filling my life with healing fragrance.

But I tortured it, I poisoned it

I blinded its eyes, and it became hatred—

Deadly ivy instead of clematis.

And my soul fell from its support

Its tendrils tangled in decay.

Do not let the will play gardener to your soul

Unless you are sure

It is wiser than your soul’s nature.


ALL your sorrow, Louise, and hatred of me

Sprang from your delusion that it was wantonness

Of spirit and contempt of your soul’s rights

Which made me turn to Annabelle and forsake you.

You really grew to hate me for love of me,

Because I was your soul’s happiness,

Formed and tempered

To solve your life for you, and would not.

But you were my misery.

If you had been

My happiness would I not have clung to you?

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.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: