Monday, January 27, 2014

"Abraham Lincoln" by James S. Thorn (1865)



There are little knots on the corners to-day,

        And with bated breath they utter

Not alone a dirge o'er th' inanimate clay,

        But avenging whispers mutter.

There are aching hearts in the households to-night;

        There are eyes that are red with weeping;

And tender hearts, oh not bursting quite,

        In the gall of despair are steeping.

They are sobbing to-day on the old camp-ground,

        And spirits undaunted by foeman,

That trembled not when the battery frowned,

        Are blanched as the cheek of woman.

Comes a Nation's wail o'er her prostrate son;

        For her joy has been changed to sorrow;

She fears there's the dusk of doubt begun,

        And alas! who can tell the morrow?

So pure and so great, aye, so grandly good,

        Sic semper tyrannis belies him:

Greatest of living men he stood;

        Dying, the world shall prize him.

Though the head lies low, yet the body lives:

        There are heart-strings that death cannot sever:

HE taketh away, but yet HE gives,

        And the Union shall stand forever.

We are tasting to-day of the bitter cup:

        Oh lesson, we heed thy warning;

We know but ONE who can lift us up:

        'Tis night, it will yet be morning.

The dead of to-day will grow divine

        Like the martyrs of ancient story,

And with Washington's, Lincoln's name shall shine

        On the scroll of our country's glory.

                                Troy Daily Times. Saturday, April 15th, 1865.

A Tribute of Respect by the Citizens of Troy to the Memory of Abraham Lincoln. Troy, NY: Young & Benson, 1865. 27-28.

A version of the poem with some different verses appeared in Magazine of History with Notes and Queries. 17(65). 1920. 37.

James S. Thorn (1838-1866)

Oakwood Cemetery, Troy, NY

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