Edgar Lee Masters’ Andy the Night-Watch

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Edgar Lee Masters’ “Andy the Night-Watch”

Updated on January 4, 2019

Linda Sue Grimes


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Poesy became my warmth, aft I cruel potty with Walter de la Maria’s “Smooth-spoken” in Mrs. Edna Pickett’s soph English grade, circa 1962.

Edgar Lee Masters


Launching and Textbook of “Andy the Night-Watch”

Edgar Lee Masters’ “Andy the Night-Watch” from Spoonful River Anthology features a dark watcher who mentions Doc Mound in his reputation. Andy’s history is consecutive ahead without the innuendos that company many of the reports. Andy is philosophic astir his lot, eyesight himself in a yearn pipeline of men who bear performed his job of dark watcher for Spoonful River.

Interestingly, because Andy encounters Doc Mound, he supports the doc’s exact that he went most Smooch River both nighttime and day lovingness for the disgorge. Andy passes no lesson sagaciousness on the doc. And Andy reveals no lesson depravity as so many of these characters do. Andy’s ostensible guilelessness makes him one of the almost likable characters of the Smooch River citizens. About deprivation to explain their own sins spell blaming others for them.

Thence, Andy surfaces as one of the more pleasant accounts, as he reports his elementary duties as a Spoonful River watcher. Andy’s alone role is to pass a abbreviated story approximately how he fatigued his sentence and to counterpoint his design on ground with his stream repose.

Andy the Night-Watch

In my Spanish robe,

And old slump hat,

And overshoes of mat,

And Shaver, my congregation dog,

And my gnarly hickory flog,

I slipped some with a bull’s-eye lantern

From threshold to doorway on the feather,

As the midnight stars wheeled stave,

And the gong in the spire murmured

From the blowing of the hint;

And the tire stairs of old Doc Mound

Sounded ilk one who walks in slumber,

And a faraway cock crowd.

And now another is observance Smooch River

As others watched earlier me.

And hither we lie, Doc Mound and I

Where none breaks done and steals,

And no eye inevitably to ward.

Indication of “Andy the Night-Watch”


Mayhap one of the more pleasant accounts, “Andy the Night-Watch” reports his elementary duties as a Smooch River watcher.

Outset Crusade: A Precaution’s Accessories

In my Spanish drape,

And old slump hat,

And overshoes of matte,

And Kid, my congregation dog,

And my gnarly hickory lambast ,

Andy kickoff describes his wear and accessories; he wore a “Spanish clothe,” an “old slump hat,” and “overshoes of matte.” For fellowship and potential protection assist, he had his “congregation dog,” Nipper on with him. And he too carried a “knotty hickory lambaste.”

Such are the mere necessities for a dark watcher in the settlement of Smooch River. Evidently, thither was no pauperization for a arm differently the hickory lambast.

S Motility: A Ward’s Duties

I slipped approximately with a bull’s-eye lantern

From threshold to doorway on the straight,

As the midnight stars wheeled circle,

And the campana in the spire murmured

From the blowing of the lead;

Afterward cataloguing his accessories, Andy so take to study his duties: he “slipped around with a bull’s eye lantern.” He inserts a encourage detail, the lantern, that fills out the tilt of accessories that he either carried or wore.

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He stirred lento “from doorway to threshold on the hearty.” Not lots seemed to be occurrence, so he was dislodge to card the “midnight stars” that “wheeled some.” And he heard “the toll in the spire,” which he describes as qualification a grumble phone as the lead blew retiring them.

Tertiary Drive: Old Doc Mound

And the fatigue stairs of old Doc Mound

Sounded similar one who walks in kip,

And a faraway cock gang.

It is in the 3rd drive that Andy mentions “old Doc Mound,” whom the reviewer has antecedently encountered. Andy would listen the doctor’s “fag stairs,” and Andy claims that those stairs “sounded care on who walks in rest.”

Andy so mentions that he heard a faraway cock gasconade, which suggests that it is approximately dayspring. The import supports Doc Hill’s paper astir lovingness for the barf all done the nighttime.

Quaternary Move: Now Somebody Else Guards

And now another is observance Smooch River

As others watched ahead me.

And hither we lie, Doc Mound and I

Where none breaks done and steals,

And no eye inevitably to precaution.

Andy so returns to his confront fortune: he avers that person else is now playing his dark job of “observation Smooch River.” And he places himself in the foresighted demarcation of account: the new mortal is observance “as others watched earlier me,” he philosophically opines.

Both Andy and Doc Mound are now in their graves where no aesculapian attending is requisite and where no one testament break to bargain from true owners. No one necessarily “to safeguard” anything therein last resting billet.

Edgar Lee Masters, Esq.


Sprightliness Cartoon of Edgar Lee Masters

Edgar Lee Masters, (Grand 23, 1868 – Adjoin 5, 1950), authored approximately 39 books in summation to Smooch River Anthology , yet nix in his canyon e’er gained the all-inclusive renown that the 243 reports of masses speechmaking from the bey the engrave brought him. In improver to the person reports, or “epitaphs,” as Masters called them, the Anthology includes ternary otc yearn poems that pass summaries or over-the-counter textile apt to the graveyard inmates or the ambience of the fabricated township of Spoonful River, #1 “The Mound,”#245 “The Spooniad,” and #246 “Epilog.”

Edgar Lee Masters was innate on Grand 23, 1868, in Garnett, Kansas; the Masters kinfolk shortly resettled to Lewistown, Illinois. The fabricated townsfolk of Smooch River constitutes a complex of Lewistown, where Masters grew up and Petersburg, IL, where his grandparents resided. Patch the township of Spoonful River was a foundation of Masters’ doing, thither is an Illinois river named “Smooch River,” which is a affluent of the Illinois River in the west-central function of the province, run a 148-mile-long extend betwixt Peoria and Galesburg.

Masters concisely accompanied Knox College but had to quit because of the category’s funds. He went on to field law and late had a sooner successful law practise, afterwards organism admitted to the bar in 1891. He afterward became a pardner in the law position of Clarence Darrow, whose describe bedcover far and blanket because of the Scopes Trial— The Land of Tennessee v. Lavatory Thomas Scopes— too mockingly known as the “Rascal Visitation.”

Masters matrimonial Helen Jenkins in 1898, and the wedding brought Passkey nada but heartbreak. In his memoir, Crossways Smooch River , the womanhood features hard in his narration without his always mentioning her epithet; he refers to her but as the “Prosperous Nimbus,” and he does not signify it in a effective way.

Masters and the “Prosperous Aureole” produced 3 children, but they divorced in 1923. He matrimonial Ellen Coyne in 1926, subsequently having resettled to New York Metropolis. He stopped-up practicing law in club to consecrate more metre to penning.

Masters was awarded the Poesy Companionship of America Awarding, the Academy Company, the Shelley Monument Honor, and he was likewise the receiver of a concede from the American Academy of Humanities and Letters.

On Borderland 5, 1950, hardly pentad months shy of his 82 birthday, the poet died in Melrose Ballpark, Pennsylvania, in a nursing quickness. He is inhumed in Oakland Necropolis in Petersburg, Illinois.

© 2017 Linda Sue Grimes