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Abraham Lincoln An Horatian Ode   By: (1825-1903)

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An Horatian Ode.

By Richard Henry Stoddard.

New York:

Bunce & Huntington, Publishers,

540 Broadway.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1865,


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Alvord, Printer.


Born, Feb. 12th, 1809.

Assassinated, Good Friday, April 14th, 1865.

"Confusion now hath made his masterpiece! Most sacrilegious murder hath broke ope The Lord's anointed temple, and stole thence The life o' the building.

"Approach the chamber, and destroy your sight With a new Gorgon: Do not bid me speak; See, and then speak yourselves. Awake! awake! Ring the alarum bell: Murder! and treason!

"Shake off this downy sleep, death's counterfeit, And look on death itself! up, up, and see The great doom's image!

"Our royal master's murdered!

"Had I but died an hour before this chance, I had lived a blessed time; for from this instant There's nothing serious in mortality: All is but toys: renown and grace is dead; The wine of life is drawn, and the mere lees Is left this vault to brag of.

"After life's fitful fever, he sleeps well; Treason has done his worst: nor steel, nor poison, Malice domestic, foreign levy, nothing, Can touch him further."


Not as when some great Captain falls In battle, where his Country calls, Beyond the struggling lines That push his dread designs

To doom, by some stray ball struck dead: Or, in the last charge, at the head Of his determined men, Who must be victors then!

Nor as when sink the civic Great, The safer pillars of the State, Whose calm, mature, wise words Suppress the need of swords

With no such tears as e'er were shed Above the noblest of our Dead Do we to day deplore The Man that is no more!

Our sorrow hath a wider scope, Too strange for fear, too vast for hope, A Wonder, blind and dumb, That waits what is to come!

Not more astounded had we been If Madness, that dark night, unseen, Had in our chambers crept, And murdered while we slept!

We woke to find a mourning Earth Our Lares shivered on the hearth, The roof tree fallen, all That could affright, appall!

Such thunderbolts, in other lands, Have smitten the rod from royal hands, But spared, with us, till now, Each laurelled Cesar's brow!

No Cesar he, whom we lament, A Man without a precedent, Sent, it would see, 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:

Four fateful years of mortal strife, Which slowly drained the Nation's life, (Yet, for each drop that ran There sprang an armed man!)

Not then; but when by measures meet, By victory, and by defeat, By courage, patience, skill, The People's fixed "We will!"

Had pierced, had crushed Rebellion dead, Without a Hand, without a Head: At last, when all was well, He fell O, how he fell!

The time, the place, the stealing Shape, The coward shot, the swift escape, The wife the widow's scream, It is a hideous Dream!

A Dream? what means this pageant, then? These multitudes of solemn men, Who speak not when they meet, But throng the silent street?

The flags half mast, that late so high Flaunted at each new victory? (The stars no brightness shed, But bloody looks the red!)

The black festoons that stretch for miles, And turn the streets to funeral aisles? (No house too poor to show The Nation's badge of woe!)

The cannon's sudden, sullen boom, The bells that toll of death and doom, The rolling of the drums, The dreadful Car that comes?

Cursed be the hand that fired the shot! The frenzied brain that hatched the plot! Thy Country's Father slain By thee, thou worse than Cain!

Tyrants have fallen by such as thou, And Good hath followed May it now! (God lets bad instruments Produce the best events... Continue reading book >>

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