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FEBRUARY 14, 1909
LINCOLN AND THE POETS
"hjO Caesar he whom we lament,
iV A Man without a precedent,
Sent, it would seem, to do
His work, and perish, too.
Not by the weary cares of State,
The endless tasks, which will not wait,
Which, often done in vain,
Must yet be done again:
Not in the dark, wild tide of war,
Which rose so high, and rolled so far,
Sweeping from sea to sea
In awful anarchy:
But he, the man we mourn to-day,
No tyrant was: so mild a sway
In one such weight who bore
Was never known before.
Cool should he be, of balanced powers,
The ruler of a race like ours,
Impatient, headstrong, wild,
The Man to guide the Child.
And this he was, who most unfit
(So hard the sense of God to hit),
Did seem to fill his place;
With such a homely face,
Such rustic manners, speech uncouth,
(That somehow blundered out the truth),
Untried, untrained to bear
The more than kingly care.
Ah! And his genius put to scorn
The proudest in the purple born,
Whose wisdom never grew
To what, untaught, he knew,
The People, of whom he icas one:
A o gentleman, like Washington,
(Whose bones, methinks, make room,
to have him in their tomb!)
A laboring man, with horny hands,
Who swung the axe, who tilled his lands,
Who shrank from nothing new,
But did as poor men do.
One of the People! Born to be
Their curious epitome;
To share yet rise above
Their shifting hate and love.
0 honest face, which all men knew!
O tender heart, but known to few!
O wonder of the age,
Cut off by tragic rage!
Peace! Let the long procession come,
For hark, the mournful, viuffled drum,
The trumpet's wail afar,
And see, the awful car!
Peace! Let the sad procession go,
While cannon boom and bells toll slow.
And go, thou sacred car,
Bearing our woe afar!
Go, grandly borne, with such a train
As greatest kings might die to gain.
The just, the wise, the brave,
Attend thee to the grave.
And you, the soldiers of our wars,
Bronzed veterans, grim with noble scars,
Salute him once again,
Your late commander — slain!
So sweetly, sadly, sternly goes
The Fallen to his last repose.
Beneath no mighty dome,
But in his modest home;
The churchyard where his childrm rest,
The quiet spot that suits him best,
Inhere shall his grave be made,
And there his bones be laid.
And there his countrymen shall come,
With memory proud, with pity dumb,
And strangers far and near,
For many and many a year.
For many and many an age,
While History on her ample page
The virtues shall enroll
Of that Paternal Soul.
—Eichaed Henry Stoddaed.
LOS ANGELES HERALD SUNDAY MAGAZINE
Notable Contributions by James Russell Lowell,
Walt Whitman, Harriet Monroe and Maurice
Thompson to the Literature of Lincoln.
]yf V childhood's home I see again,
•*• * And sadden with the view;
And still, as memory crowds my brain,
There's pleasure in it, too.
O Memory! Thou midway world
'Twixt earth and paradise,
Where things decayed and loved ones lost
In dreamy shadows rise,
And, freed from all that's earthly vile,
Seem hallowed, pure, and bright,
Like scenes in some enchanted isle
All bathed in liquid light.
As dusky mountains please the eye
When twilight chases day;
As bugle notes that, passing by.
In distance die away;
As leaving some grand waterfall.
We lingering, list its roar —
So memory will hallow all
We've known, and know no more.
It is not generally known that Lin
coln EVER WROTE ANY VERSE, BUT THAT
ENTITLED "MEMORY," REPRINTED ABOVE,
SHOWS THAT HIS TALENT IN THIS DIREC
TION WAS OF NO MEAN ORDER.
A PROPHECY AT LINCOLN'S GRAVE
OLD soldiers true, ah, them all men can trust,
Who fought with conscience clear, on either
Who bearded Death and thought their cause was
Their stainless honor cannot be denied;
All patriots they, beyond the farthest doubt;
Bing it and sing it up and down the land,
And let no voice dare answer it with sneers,
Or shut its meaning out;
Ring it and sing it, we go hand in hand,
Old infantry, old cavalry, old cannoneers.
And if Virginia's vales shall ring again
To battle-yell of Moseby or Mahone,
If Wilder's wild brigade or Morgan's men
Once more wheel into line, or all alone
A Sheridan shall ride, a Cleburne fall. —
There will not be tiro flags above them flying,
But both in one, welded in that pure flame
Upflaring in M all,
When kindred unto kindred, loudly crying,
Bally and cheer in freedom's holy name!
(Columbian Exhibition Ode.)
M ND, lo! leading a blessed host comes one
JTX Who held a warring nation in his heart;
Who knew love's agony, but had no part
In love's delight; irhose mighty task teas done
Through blood and tears that we might walk
And this day's rapture own no sad alloy.
Around him heirs of bliss, whose bright brows
Palm leaves amid their laurels ever fair.
Gaily they come, as though the drum
Heat out the call their glad hearts knew so well:
Brothers once more, dear as of yore,
Who in a noble conflict nobly fell.
Their blood washed pure yon banner in the sl;y,
And quenched the brands laid 'neath these arches
The brave who, having fought, can never die.
O CAPTAIN! MY CAPTAIN!
O CAPTAIN! my Captain, our fearful trip is
The ship has weathered every rack, the prise we
sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all
While follow eyes the steady heel, the vessel
grim and daring;
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.
0 Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the
bells; • :
Ttise up — for you the flag is flung — you the
For you bouquets .and ribboned wreathsfor
you the shores acrowding,
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager
Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head!
It is some dream that on the deck
You've fallen cold and dead.
My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse
The ship is anchored safe and sound, its voyage
closed and done,
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with
Exult 0 shores, and ring O bells!
But I, with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.
4» + «$►
SUCH was he, our Martyr-Chief,
Whom late the Nation he had led,
With ashes on her head,
Wept with the passion of an angry grief:
Forgive me, if from present things I turn
To speak uhat in my heart will beat and burn,
And hang my wreath on his world-honored urn.
Nature, they say, doth dote,
And cannot make a man
Save on some worn-out plan,
Repeating us by role:
For him her Old-World vwulds aside she threw,
And, choosing siveet clay from the breast
Of the unexhausted West,
With stuff untainted shaped a hero new,
Wise, steadfast in the strength of God, and true.
How beautiful to see
Once more a shepherd of mankind indeed,
Who loved his charge, but never loved to lead;
One ichose meek flock the people joyed to be,
Not lured by any cheat of birth,
But by his clear-grained human worth,
And brave eld wisdom of sincerity!
They knew that outward grace is dust;
They could not choose but trust
In that sure-footed mind's unfaltering skill,
And. supple-tempered will
That bent like perfect steel to spring and thrust.
His icas no lonely mountain-peak of mind,
Thrusting to thin air o'er our cloudy bars,
A sea-mark now, tiow lost in vapor's blind;
Broad prairie rather, genial, level-lined,
Fruitful and friendly for all human kind,
Yet also nigh to heaven and loved of loftiest stars.
Nothing of Europe here,
Or, then, of Europe fronting mornward still,
Ere any names of Serf and Peer
Could Nature's equal scheme deface
And tnuart her genial will;
Here teas a type of the true elder race,
And one of Plutarch's men talked with us face
I praise him not; it were too late;
And some innative iceakness there must be
In him who condescends to victory
Such as the Present gives, and cannot wait,
Safe in himself as in a fate.
So always firmly he:
He knew to bide his time,
And can his fame abide,
Still patient in his simple^faith sublime,
Till the icise years decide.
.. Great captains, with their guns and drums,
Disturb our judgment for the hour,
But at last silence comes;
These all are gone, and. standing like a tower,
Our children shall behold his fame,
The kindly-earnest, brave, foreseeing man,
Sagacious, patient, dreading praise, not blame,
New birth of our new soil, the first American.
—James Russell Lowell.