Verse > Edgar Lee Masters > Spoon River Anthology

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

148. Roy Butler

IF the learned Supreme Court of Illinois 
Got at the secret of every case 
As well as it does a case of rape 
It would be the greatest court in the world. 
A jury, of neighbors mostly, with “Butch” Weldy         5
As foreman, found me guilty in ten minutes 
And two ballots on a case like this: 
Richard Bandle and I had trouble over a fence, 
And my wife and Mrs. Bandle quarreled 
As to whether Ipava was a finer town than Table Grove.  10
I awoke one morning with the love of God 
Brimming over my heart, so I went to see Richard 
To settle the fence in the spirit of Jesus Christ. 
I knocked on the door, and his wife opened; 
She smiled and asked me in; I entered—  15
She slammed the door and began to scream, 
“Take your hands off, you low down varlet!” 
Just then her husband entered. 
I waved my hands, choked up with words. 
He went for his gun, and I ran out.  20
But neither the Supreme Court nor my wife 
Believed a word she said. 



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