Lincoln

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

I.

Yea, this is he, whose name is synonym
Of all that's noble, though but lowly born;
Who took command upon a stormy morn
When few had hope. Although uncouth of limb,
Homely of face and gaunt, but never grim,
Beautiful he was with that which none may scorn.
With love of God and man and things forlorn,
And freedom mighty as the soul in him.
Large at the helm of State he leans and looms
With the grave, kindly look of those who die
Doing their duty. Staunch, unswervingly
Onward he steers beneath portentous glooms,
And overwhelming thunders of the sky,
Till, safe in port, he sees a people free.

II.

Safe from the storm; the harbour-lights of Peace
Before his eyes; the burden of dark fears
Cast from him like a cloak; and in his ears
The heart-beat music of a great release,
Captain and pilot, back upon the seas,
Whose wrath he'd weathered, back he looks with tears,
Seeing no shadow of the Death that nears,
Stealthy and sure, with sudden agonies.
So let him stand, brother to every man,
Ready for toil or battle; he who held
A Nation's destinies within his hand:
Type of our greatness; first American,
By whom the hearts of all men are compelled,
And with whose name Freedom unites our Land.

III.

He needs no praise of us, who wrought so well,
Who has the Master's praise; who at his post
Stood to the last. Yet, now, from coast to coast,
Let memory of him peal like some great bell.
Of him as woodsman, workman let it tell!
Of him as lawyer, statesman, without boast!
And for what qualities we love him most,
And recollections that no time can quell.
He needs no praise of us, yet let us praise,
Albeit his simple soul we may offend,
That liked not praise, being most diffident.
Still let us praise him, praise him in such ways
As his were, and in words, that shall transcend
Marble, and outlast any monument.

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