Well, Emily Sparks, your prayers were not wasted,
Your love was not all in vain.
I owe whatever I was in life
To your hope that would not give me up,
To your love that saw me still as good.
Dear Emily Sparks, let me tell you the story.
I pass the effect of my father and mother;
The milliner’s daughter made me trouble
And out I went in the world,
Where I passed through every peril known
Of wine and women and joy of life.
One night, in a room in the Rue de Rivoli,
I was drinking wine with a black-eyed cocotte,
And the tears swam into my eyes.
She though they were amorous tears and smiled
For thought of her conquest over me.
But my soul was three thousand miles away,
In the days when you taught me in Spoon River.
And just because you no more could love me,
Nor pray for me, nor write me letters,
The eternal silence of you spoke instead.
And the black-eyed cocotte took the tears for hers,
As well as the deceiving kisses I gave her.
Somehow, from that hour, I had a new vision —
Dear Emily Sparks!

Analysis, meaning and summary of Edgar Lee Masters's poem Reuben Pantier


  1. Desarayre Potinsentalkip says:

    This was a very good poem. you can really read a lot from it. this peom makes you wonder how a person could live such a life. Or even why a person would want to live such a life. I have tried many of times to write a poem that good but mine always turn out really bad. If there is someone that is reading this who can feel that they can give some advice as to how i can make my poems better let me know b/c it could really help to have someone elses oppinon

  2. chickricten Telabetresena says:

    this poem was a blow it was very depresing and i do not think it should have ever been posted. Not everyone’s life sucks like this persons but why does he have to go and tell us all about it. what a waste of perfectly good colum space. this guy is a horrible writter and should not have been published.

  3. ronnie says:

    This is a poem about someone who came from a broken home and was raised in a hateful enviornment. He had a deeply burried love for the world but had no means of knowing how to express it. The only person who ever cared about him was Emily Sparks who entered in his life far too late: he had already given up on love and was not open to recieving it. After a fling with some chick, he goes to a bar with a prostitute. Aparantly they exchange some kisses as he sobs. She believes the tears to be tears of love for her and he knos it’s wrong but kisses her anyway. I assume he dies of alcohol poisoning soon after the kissing where he enters the spirit world and begins to tell his story to Emily Sparks after realizing she loved him because that love gives his soul peace.

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