Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry: Explained, ODE FOR THE BURIAL OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN, by WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT



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Classic and Contemporary Poetry: Explained

ODE FOR THE BURIAL OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN, by             Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography

"Ode for the Burial of Abraham Lincoln" is a poem by William Cullen Bryant that was written to commemorate the death of the 16th President of the United States. The poem is notable for its powerful and emotive language, as well as its exploration of themes such as grief, loss, and the legacy of Lincoln's life and accomplishments.

The poem opens with a solemn and mournful tone, as the speaker reflects on the news of Lincoln's death and the shock and sorrow that it has caused. Bryant describes the scene in Washington D.C., with "flags half-mast, and bells toll slow; / And from the people comes a moan / As from the ocean's troubled breast."

As the poem continues, the speaker reflects on the legacy of Lincoln's life and accomplishments, suggesting that his death has left a deep void in the hearts of the American people. He writes, "He was a man of cheerful yesterdays / And confident to-morrows; when he spake, / Clouds of oppression, which had overcast / The land, rolled back before his voice, and left / The national path in sunshine."

Throughout the poem, Bryant uses vivid imagery and metaphor to convey the depth of grief and loss that the American people are feeling in the wake of Lincoln's death. He describes the people as "smitten" and "bereaved," and suggests that Lincoln's death has left a scar on the nation's collective soul that will never fully heal.

However, the poem also offers a sense of hope and renewal, suggesting that even in the face of tragedy and loss, the American people will persevere and carry on Lincoln's legacy of freedom and justice. Bryant writes, "Thy name shall be a symbol and a sign / To every wind of honor that doth blow, / Till man shall breathe his last, and earth shall pine, / And God's great empire shall dissolve in snow."

Overall, "Ode for the Burial of Abraham Lincoln" is a powerful and moving tribute to one of America's greatest leaders. Through its use of emotive language and vivid imagery, the poem captures the depth of grief and loss that the American people felt in the wake of Lincoln's death, while also offering a sense of hope and renewal for the future. It is a timeless reminder of the enduring legacy of Lincoln's life and accomplishments, and a tribute to the strength and resilience of the American people.


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