Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE DEAR PRESIDENT, by JOHN JAMES PIATT



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THE DEAR PRESIDENT, by            
First Line: Abraham lincoln, the dear president
Last Line: "abraham lincoln, the dear president."
Subject(s): Funerals; Lincoln, Abraham (1809-1865); Presidents, United States; Burials


ABRAHAM LINCOLN, the Dear President,
Lay in the Round Hall at the Capitol,
And there the people came to look their last.

There came the widow, weeded for her mate;
There came the mother, sorrowing for her son;
There came the orphan, moaning for its sire.

There came the soldier, bearing home his wound;
There came the slave, who felt his broken chain;
There came the mourners of a blacken'd Land.

Through the dark April day, a ceaseless throng,
They pass'd the coffin, saw the sleeping face,
And, blessing it, in silence moved away.

And one, a poet, spoke within his heart:
"It harm'd him not to praise him when alive,
And me it cannot harm to praise him dead.

"Too oft the muse has blush'd to speak of men --
No muse shall blush to speak her best of him,
And still to speak her best of him is dumb.

"O lofty wisdom's low simplicity!
O awful tenderness of noted power! --
No man e'er held so much of power so meek.

"He was the husband of the husbandless,
He was the father of the fatherless:
Within his heart he weigh'd the common woe.

"His call was like a father's to his sons!
As to a father's voice, they, hearing, came --
Eager to offer, strive, and bear, and die.

"The mild bond-breaker, servant of his Lord,
He took the sword, but in the name of Peace,
And touched the fetter, and the bound was free.

"Oh, place him not among the historic kings,
Strong, barbarous chiefs and bloody conquerors,
But with the Great and pure Republicans:

"Those who have been unselfish, wise, and good,
Bringers of Light and Pilots in the dark,
Bearers of Crosses, Servants of the World.

"And always, in his Land of birth and death,
Be his fond name -- warm'd in the people's hearts --
Abraham Lincoln, the Dear President."





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