University of Wisconsin / The university's tribute to her men of the service and the dedication of Lincoln terrace ... Alumni day, June 24, 1919
Abraham Lincoln This is the remarkable poem in which, on May 6, 1865, London Punch confessed its error, after having for four years lampooned Lincoln with pencil and with pen. You lay a wreath on murdered Lincoln's bier, You, who with mocking pencil wont to trace, Broad for the self-complacent British sneer, His length of shambling limb, his furrowed face. His gaunt, gnarled hands, his unkempt, bristling hair, His garb uncouth, his bearing ill at ease, His lack of all we prize as debonair, Of power or will to shine, of art to please. You, whose smart pen backed up the pencil's laugh, Judging each step, as though the way were plaint Reckless, so it could point a paragraph, Of Chief's perplexity, or people's pain. Beside this corpse, that bears for winding-sheet The Stars and Stripes he lived to rear anew, Between the mourners at his head and feet. Say, scurril-jester, is there room for you? Yes, he had lived to shame me from my sneer, To lame my pencil and confute my pen- To make me own this hind of princes peer, This rail-splitter a true-born king of men. My shallow judgment I had learnt to rue, Noting how to occasion's height he rose, How his quaint wit made home-truth seem more true, How, iron-like, his temper grew by blows. How humble yet how hopeful he could be: How in good fortune and in ill the same: Nor bitter in success, nor boastful he, Thirsty for gold, nor feverish for fame. He went about his work-such work as few Ever had laid on head and heart and hand- As one who knows where there's a task to do, Man's honest will must Heaven's good grace command; Who trusts the strength will with the burden grow, That God makes instruments to work his will, If but that will we can arrive to know, Nor tamper with the weights of good and ill.
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