Verse > Edgar Lee Masters > Spoon River Anthology

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

127. Eugene Carman

RHODES’ slave! Selling shoes and gingham, 
Flour and bacon, overalls, clothing, all day long 
For fourteen hours a day for three hundred and thirteen days 
For more than twenty years. 
Saying “Yes’m” and “Yes, sir” and “Thank you”         5
A thousand times a day, and all for fifty dollars a month. 
Living in this stinking room in the rattle-trap “Commercial.” 
And compelled to go to Sunday School, and to listen 
To the Rev. Abner Peet one hundred and four times a year 
For more than an hour at a time,  10
Because Thomas Rhodes ran the church 
As well as the store and the bank. 
So while I was tying my neck-tie that morning 
I suddenly saw myself in the glass: 
My hair all gray, my face like a sodden pie.  15
So I cursed and cursed: You damned old thing! 
You cowardly dog! You rotten pauper! 
You Rhodes’ slave! Till Roger Baughman 
Thought I was having a fight with some one, 
And looked through the transom just in time  20
To see me fall on the floor in a heap 
From a broken vein in my head. 



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