Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > Anthology of Magazine Verse for 1920
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. (1878–1962).  Anthology of Magazine Verse for 1920.  1920.
 
A Republic!
 
Edgar Lee Masters (1869–1950)
 
 
HER faith abandoned and her place despised,
Her mission lost through ridicule, hooted forth
From the forum she erected, by cat calls,
And tory sneers and schemes. Her basic law.
Scoffed out of court, amended at the need        5
Of stomachology by the judges, or
A majority of States, as it is said—
Rather by drunks and grafters, for the time
The spokesmen of the States, coerced and scared
By Methodists with a fund to hire spies,        10
And unearth women scrapes, or other sins
With which to say: Vote dry, or be exposed.
A marsh Atlantis drifting, towed at last
By pirates into harbor, made a pasture
For alien hatreds, greeds. A shackled press,        15
And voices gagged, creative spirits frozen,
Obtunded by disgust or fear. War only,
Armies and navies speak the national mind,
And make it move as a man; for other things
Resistance, thought divided, ostracism,        20
Or jail for their protagonists. At the mast
The cross above the cross-bones, in between
The starry banner. A people hatched like chickens:
Of feeble spirit for much inter-crossing,
Without vision and without will, incapable        25
Of lusty revolution whatever right
Is spit upon or taken. A wriggling mass
Bemused and babbling, trampling private right
As a tyrant tramples it, calling it law
Because it speaks the majority of the mob.        30
A land that breeds the reformer, the infuriate
Will in the shallow mind, the plague of frogs
That hop into our rooms at Pharaoh’s will,
And spoil our banquet dishes, hour of joy.
A giantess growing huger, duller of mind,        35
Her gland pituitary being injured!

  The Nation
 

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