Edgar Lee Masters
Edgar Lee Masters was born in Kansas in 1868, he was a biographer, dramatist and poet. His best known work is the Spoon River Anthology, which contains many epitaphs in the form of monologues spoken from beyond the grave by the residents of a small town, that is to say Spoon River. It was published in 1915. He also published 12 plays, 21 books of poetry, 6 novels and 6 biographies, including those of Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain, Vachel Lindsay and Walt Whitman. He then died in 1950 in Pennsylvania.
George Gray is an epitaph, that is to say an inscription commemorating a dead person, taken from Spoon River Anthology. George Gray is a man who regrets not having lived to the fullest, he avoided all the pains but also all those things which make life happy, indeed he explains that no matter what life offered him, he always ran away, in order to do so he personified Sorrow and Ambition, “Sorrow knocked at my door” and “Ambition called me”. He compares himself to a boat, which is afraid of traveling in the sea, therefore it stays in the harbor, that's because he didn't really live, he just watched the events of his life occur without doing anything. The theme of this poem is that a person who doesn't react to challenges ends up being frustrated, feeling a lack of fulfillment, indeed George Gray advices the reader not to do like he did.
The tone is nostalgic, the speaker is remorseful and regrets what he has done, and the poem has no rhyme scheme. In the last line there is a metaphor, which compares meaningless life to a boat longing for the sea but afraid of it. George Gray symbolizes all the people who led a safe life rather than a challenging one because of their fears.