Edgar Lee Masters

(23 August 1868 – 5 March 1950 / Kansas / United States)

Kinsey Keene


Your attention, Thomas Rhodes, president of the bank;
Coolbaugh Wedon, editor of the Argus;
Rev. Peet, pastor of the leading church;
A.D. Blood, several times Mayor of Spoon River;
And finally all of you, members of the Social Purity Club--
Your attention to Cambronne's dying words,
Standing with heroic remnant
Of Napoleon's guard on Mount Saint Jean
At the battle field of Waterloo,
When Maitland, the Englishman, called to them:
"Surrender, brave Frenchmen!"--
There at close of day with the battle hopelessly lost,
And hordes of men no longer the army
Of the great Napoleon
Streamed from the field like ragged strips
Of thunder clouds in the storm.
Well, that Cambronne said to Maitland
Ere the English fire made smooth the brow of the hill
Against the sinking light of day
Say I to you, and all of you,
And to you, O world.
And I charge you to carve it
Upon my stone.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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