Spoon River Anthology Epilogue
by Edgar Lee Masters

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Epilogue

Epilogue">

(THE GRAVEYARD OF SPOON RIVER. TWO VOICES ARE HEARD BEHIND A SCREEN DECORATED WITH DIABOLICAL AND ANGELIC FIGURES IN VARIOUS ALLEGORICAL RELATIONS. A FAINT LIGHT SHOWS DIMLY THROUGH THE SCREEN AS IF IT WERE WOVEN OF LEAVES, BRANCHES AND SHADOWS.)

(They join hands and dance.)

(The figures disappear.)

(He blows his trumpet slightly louder than before. The scene changes. A stage arises among the graves. The curtain is down, concealing the creatures just created, illuminated halfway up by the spectral lights. BEELZEBUB stands before the curtain.)

(A terrific blast of the trumpet.)

(Immediately there is a rustling as of the shells of grasshoppers stirred by a wind; and hundreds of the dead, including those who have appeared in the Anthology, hurry to the sound of the trumpet.)

(Beelzebub extends his hands over the audience with a benedictory motion and restores order.)

BEELZEBUB, LOKI and YOGARINDRA vanish. The phantasmagoria fades out. Where the dead seemed to have assembled, only heaps of leaves appear. There is the light as of dawn. Voices of Spring.)

FIRST VOICE:
A game of checkers?
SECOND VOICE:
Well, I don't mind.
FIRST VOICE:
I move the Will.
SECOND VOICE:
You're playing it blind.
FIRST VOICE:
Then here's the Soul.
SECOND VOICE:
Checked by the Will.
FIRST VOICE:
Eternal Good!
SECOND VOICE:
And Eternal Ill.
FIRST VOICE:
I haste for the King row.
SECOND VOICE:
Save your breath.
FIRST VOICE:
I was moving Life.
SECOND VOICE:
You're checked by Death.
FIRST VOICE:
Very good, here's Moses.
SECOND VOICE:
And here's the Jew.
FIRST VOICE:
My next move is Jesus.
SECOND VOICE:
St. Paul for you!
FIRST VOICE:
Yes, but St. Peter—
SECOND VOICE:
You might have foreseen—
FIRST VOICE:
You're in the King row—
SECOND VOICE:
With Constantine!
FIRST VOICE:
I'll go back to Athens.
SECOND VOICE:
Well, here's the Persian.
FIRST VOICE:
All right, the Bible.
SECOND VOICE:
Pray now, what version?
FIRST VOICE:
I take up Buddha.
SECOND VOICE:
It never will work.
FIRST VOICE:
From the corner Mahomet.
SECOND VOICE:
I move the Turk.
FIRST VOICE:
The game is tangled; where are we now?
SECOND VOICE:
You're dreaming worlds. I'm in the King row.
Move as you will, if I can't wreck you
I'll thwart you, harry you, rout you, check you.
FIRST VOICE:
I'm tired. I'll send for my Son to play.
I think he can beat you finally—
SECOND VOICE:
Eh?
FIRST VOICE:
I must preside at the stars' convention.
SECOND VOICE:
Very well, my lord, but I beg to mention
I'll give this game my direct attention.
FIRST VOICE:
A game indeed! But Truth is my quest.
SECOND VOICE:
Beaten, you walk away with a jest.
I strike the table, I scatter the checkers.
Aha! You armies and iron deckers,
Races and states in a cataclysm—
Now for a day of atheism!
YOGARINDRA start up from the shadows of night.)

(A rattle of a falling table and checkers flying over a floor.)

(The screen vanishes and BEELZEBUB steps forward carrying a trumpet, which he blows faintly. Immediately LOKI and

BEELZEBUB:
Good evening, Loki!
LOKI:
The same to you!
BEELZEBUB:
And Yogarindra!
YOGARINDRA:
My greetings, too.
LOKI:
Whence came you, comrade?
BEELZEBUB:
From yonder screen.
YOGARINDRA:
And what were you doing?
BEELZEBUB:
Stirring His spleen.
LOKI:
How did you do it?
BEELZEBUB:
I made it rough
In a game of checkers.
LOKI:
Good enough!
YOGARINDRA:
I thought I heard the sounds of a battle.
BEELZEBUB:
No doubt! I made the checkers rattle,
Turning the table over and strewing
The bits of wood like an army pursuing.
YOGARINDRA:
I have a game! Let us make a man.
LOKI:
My net is waiting him, if you can.
YOGARINDRA:
And here's my mirror to fool him with—
BEELZEBUB:
Mystery, falsehood, creed and myth.
LOKI:
But no one can mold him, friend, but you.
BEELZEBUB:
Then to the sport without more ado.
YOGARINDRA:
Hurry the work ere it grow to day.
BEELZEBUB:
I set me to it. Where is the clay?

(He scrapes the earth with his hands and begins to model.)

BEELZEBUB:
Out of the dust,
Out of the lime,
A little rust,
And a little lime.
Muscle and gristle,
Mucin, stone
Brayed with a pestle,
Fat and bone.
Out of the marshes,
Out of the vaults,
Matter crushes
Gas and salts.
What is this you...

(The entire section is 2,880 words.)