Verse > Edgar Lee Masters > Spoon River Anthology

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

182. Mrs. Merritt

SILENT before the jury, 
Returning no word to the judge when he asked me 
If I had aught to say against the sentence, 
Only shaking my head. 
What could I say to people who thought         5
That a woman of thirty-five was at fault 
When her lover of nineteen killed her husband? 
Even though she had said to him over and over, 
“Go away, Elmer, go far away, 
I have maddened your brain with the gift of my body:  10
You will do some terrible thing.” 
And just as I feared, he killed my husband; 
With which I had nothing to do, before God! 
Silent for thirty years in prison! 
And the iron gates of Joliet  15
Swung as the gray and silent trusties 
Carried me out in a coffin. 



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