When I died, the circulating library
Which I built up for Spoon River,
And managed for the good of inquiring minds,
Was sold at auction on the public square,
As if to destroy the last vestige
Of my memory and influence.
For those of you who could not see the virtue
Of knowing Volney’s “Ruins” as well as Butler’s “Analogy”
And “Faust” as well as “Evangeline,”
Were really the power in the village,
And often you asked me,
“What is the use of knowing the evil in the world?”
I am out of your way now, Spoon River,
Choose your own good and call it good.
For I could never make you see
That no one knows what is good
Who knows not what is evil;
And no one knows what is true
Who knows not what is false.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Edgar Lee Masters's poem Seth Compton

1 Comment

  1. Anja Plommer says:

    First of all, his writing reminds me of Emily Dickinson, because he is talking about his own death. He is thinking about the world and the basic questions of what is evil and what is good, about what is false and what is true. I think the ‘river’ represents the poeple with who he was flowing for all his life and whose opinion of what is true and what is false he adapted all life, before he finally started thinking.

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