Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, LINCOLN, by SAMUEL VALENTINE COLE



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LINCOLN, by            
First Line: Whence came this man? As if on the wings
Last Line: And belongs to the ages now!
Subject(s): Lincoln, Abraham (1809-1865); Presidents, United States


WHENCE came this man? As if on the wings
Of the winds of God that blew!
He moved, undaunted, mid captains and kings,
And, not having learned, he knew!
Was he son of the soil, or child of the sky?
Or, pray, was he both? Ah me!
How little they dreamed, as the storm rolled nigh,
What he was, and was to be!

When trembled the lamps of hope, or quite
Blew out in that furious gale,
He drew his light from the Larger Light
Above him that did not fail:
Heaven-led, all trials and perils among,
As unto some splendid goal
He fared right onward, unflinching,—this strong,
God-gifted, heroic soul!

We know him now—how noble his part,
And how clear was his vision then!
With the firmest hand and the kindliest heart
Of them all—this master of men!
Of the pride of power or the lust of pelf,
Oh, never a taint we find:
He lost himself in the larger self
Of his country and all mankind.

There are those called great, or good, by right,
But as long as the long roll is,
Not many the names, with the double light
Of greatness and goodness, like his.
Thrice happy the nation that holds him dear
Who never can wholly die,
Never cease to bestow of his counsel and cheer,
As the perilous years go by!

For after the trumpets have ceased to blow,
And the banners are folded away,
And the stress and the splendor forgotten, we know,
Of a truth, in that judgment day,
That whatso'er else, in the Stream that rolls,
May sink and be utterly gone,
The souls of the men who were true to their souls
Forever go marching on!

There are those whose like, it was somehow planned,
We never again shall see;
But I would to God there were more in the land
As true and as simple as he,—
As he who walked in our common ways,
With the seal of a king on his brow;
Who lived as a man among men his days,
And belongs to the ages now!





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