Verse > Edgar Lee Masters > Spoon River Anthology

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

166. Richard Bone

WHEN I first came to Spoon River 
I did not know whether what they told me 
Was true or false. 
They would bring me the epitaph 
And stand around the shop while I worked         5
And say “He was so kind,” “He was wonderful,” 
“She was the sweetest woman,” “He was a consistent Christian.” 
And I chiseled for them whatever they wished, 
All in ignorance of its truth. 
But later, as I lived among the people here,  10
I knew how near to the life 
Were the epitaphs that were ordered for them as they died. 
But still I chiseled whatever they paid me to chisel 
And made myself party to the false chronicles 
Of the stones,  15
Even as the historian does who writes 
Without knowing the truth, 
Or because he is influenced to hide it. 



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