Poetic Justice logoEdgar Lee Masters (1868-1950) was so well known that he got his picture on a US postage stamp (see below). Like his father, Masters was called to the bar, that of Illinois, and in 1893. For five years, he was a partner to Clarence Darrow and ultimately left the firm as a result of an argument with Darrow.


Masters often published under a pseudonym such as Dexter Wallace and Webster Ford.

He received several national recognition awards as a poet.

In this whimsical contribution to Poetic Justice: Law Poems, Masters takes on the form of a traveling circuit judge, never a popular figure for attorneys.

Take note, passer-bys, of the sharp erosions
Eaten in my headstone, by the wind and rain,
Almost as if an intangible Nemesis or hatred
Were marking scores against me,

Edgar Lee MastersBut to destroy, and not preserve, my memory.
I in life was the Circuit Judge, a maker of notches,
Deciding cases on the points the lawyers scored,
Not on the right of the matter,

O wind and rain, leave my headstone alone!
For worse than the anger of the wronged,
The curses of the poor,
Was to lie speechless, yet with vision clear,

Seeing that even Hod Putt, the murderer,
Hanged by my sentence,
Was innocent compared with me