Verse > Edgar Lee Masters > Spoon River Anthology

Edgar Lee Masters (1868–1950).  Spoon River Anthology.  1916.

201. Hamlet Micure

IN a lingering fever many visions come to you: 
I was in the little house again 
With its great yard of clover 
Running down to the board-fence, 
Shadowed by the oak tree,         5
Where we children had our swing. 
Yet the little house was a manor hall 
Set in a lawn, and by the lawn was the sea. 
I was in the room where little Paul 
Strangled from diphtheria,  10
But yet it was not this room— 
It was a sunny verandah enclosed 
With mullioned windows, 
And in a chair sat a man in a dark cloak, 
With a face like Euripides.  15
He had come to visit me, or I had gone to visit him— 
I could not tell. 
We could hear the beat of the sea, the clover nodded 
Under a summer wind, and little Paul came 
With clover blossoms to the window and smiled.  20
Then I said: “What is ‘divine despair,’ Alfred?” 
“Have you read ‘Tears, Idle Tears’?” he asked. 
“Yes, but you do not there express divine despair.” 
“My poor friend,” he answered, “that was why the despair 
Was divine.”  25



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