ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Edgar Lee Masters' "A. D. Blood" and "Robert Southey Burke"

Updated on April 4, 2018
Maya Shedd Temple profile image

After I fell in love with Walter de la Mare's "Silver" in Mrs. Edna Pickett's sophomore English class, circa 1962, poetry became my passion.

Edgar Lee Masters


68. Edgar Lee Masters’ “A. D. Blood”

Masters’ character, A. D. Blood is outraged that a couple is using his grave for a site for trysting.

Introduction: A Short, Sweet Complaint

In Edgar Lee Masters’ “A. D. Blood” from Spoon River Anthology, the speaker offers a report that is short and sweet; he has a simple complaint that he hurls at the Spoon River folk in the form of a question.

Mr. A. D. Blood is bemoaning the agony he suffers from having a couple employ his grave as a bed where they engaging in the act of fornication.

Reading of "A. D. Blood"

First Movement: “If you in the village think that my work was a good one”

\Mr. Blood cautiously assumes that the village of Spoon River appreciated the fact that he went about on “a crusade to purge the people of sin.”

Mayor Blood was instrumental in closing saloons and shutting down gambling.

Mr. Blood even snitched on Daisy Fraser’s prostitution activity, causing her to be hauled up in from of Judge Arnett repeatedly.

Mr. Blood is sure that his work was good, but he can only surmise that the town agreed with him; thus he is forced to place his activities in an “if” clause and then ask his pertinent question.

Second Movement: “Why do you let the milliner’s daughter Dora”

Because Mr. Blood had such a good influence on Spoon River, at least in his own mind, he now wonders why the town allows this impertinent couple to fornicate on his grave.

Mr. Blood names the couple: “the worthless son of Benjamin Pantier” and “the milliner’s daughter Dora.”

Mr. Blood colorfully refers to their dirty deed as “[n]ightly mak[ing] my grave their unholy pillow.”

But was Mr. Blood correct in calling Reuben Pantier “worthless”? Emily Sparks offers a different opinion about Reuben.

69. Edgar Lee Masters’ “Robert Southey Burke”

Robert Southey Burke has a huge axe to grind with A. D. Blood.

Reading of "Robert Southey Burke"

Introduction: Worshiping at Feet of Clay

In Edgar Lee Masters’ “Robert Southey Burke” from Spoon River Anthology, Mr. Burke lets off steam from his animosity toward “A. D. Blood.”

A.D. Blood had served as mayor of Spoon River and was annoyed that a couple was now using his grave as a place to fornicate.

Although Blood did not mention Burke, Blood’s personality begins to emerge as a self-righteous, pompous character as Burke unveils his travails.

At the same time, Burke reveals his own small, sniveling character as his complaints unfold.

First Movement: “I spent my money trying to elect you Mayor”

Burke begins by reporting, as he addresses Blood, that he “spent [his] money trying to get” Blood elected mayor. Continuing, Burke claims that he “lavished [his] admiration” on Blood.

Burke then admits that he thought Blood was “the almost perfect man.” Either Burke was naïve or Blood was a master at deception, likely a healthy portion of each.

Second Movement: “You devoured my personality”

Burke turns ugly and desperate rather quickly as he laments, “You devoured my personality, / And the idealism of my youth.”

Furthermore, Burke accuses Blood of stealing his fierce loyalty in addition to all of his “hopes for the world, / And all my beliefs in Truth.”

All of Burke's hopes and beliefs were bound up tightly in his “devotion” to Blood. Burke had “molded” an image of Blood that was beyond super-human.

Third Movement: “And then when I found what you were”

Then Burke discovered the real Blood. Burke does not reveal how he discovered the truth about his idol, but once he did, he realizes that Blood had a small soul, that Blood’s words were as fake as his “blue-white porcelain teeth,” and his “cuffs of celluloid.”

And after making this shocking discovery, Burke “hated the love [he] had for “Blood].”

Fourth Movement: “I hated myself, I hated you”

Furthermore, Burke despised himself. And he hated Blood for wasting Burke’s soul, youth, and ideals.

Burke ends his tirade by offering what he thinks is sage advice: “Beware of giving your love away / To any man alive.”

Poor Robert Southey Burke died a lonely, disgruntled, deluded man.

© 2017 Linda Sue Grimes


Submit a Comment

No comments yet.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)