Verse > Edgar Lee Masters > Spoon River Anthology

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

209. Herman Altman

DID I follow Truth wherever she led, 
And stand against the whole world for a cause, 
And uphold the weak against the strong? 
If I did I would be remembered among men 
As I was known in life among the people,         5
And as I was hated and loved on earth, 
Therefore, build no monument to me, 
And carve no bust for me, 
Lest, though I become not a demi-god, 
The reality of my soul be lost,  10
So that thieves and liars, 
Who were my enemies and destroyed me, 
And the children of thieves and liars, 
May claim me and affirm before my bust 
That they stood with me in the days of my defeat.  15
Build me no monument 
Lest my memory be perverted to the uses 
Of lying and oppression. 
My lovers and their children must not be dispossessed of me; 
I would be the untarnished possession forever  20
Of those for whom I lived. 


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