Poems of Abraham Lincoln (Little Books of Wisdom) by Abraham Lincoln

Here, where the lonely hooting owl
Sends forth his midnight moans,
Fierce wolves shall o’er my carcase growl,
Or buzzards pick my bones.
No fellow-man shall learn my fate,
Or where my ashes lie;
Unless by beasts drawn round their bait,
Or by the ravens’ cry.
Yes! I’ve resolved the deed to do,
And this the place to do it:
This heart I’ll rush a dagger through,
Though I in hell should rue it!
Hell! What is hell to one like me
Who pleasures never know;
By friends consigned to misery,
By hope deserted too?
To ease me of this power to think,
That through my bosom raves,
I’ll headlong leap from hell’s high brink,
And wallow in its waves.
Though devils yell, and burning chains
May waken long regret;
Their frightful screams, and piercing pains,
Will help me to forget.
Yes! I’m prepared, through endless night,
To take that fiery berth!
Think not with tales of hell to fright
Me, who am damn’d on earth!
Sweet steel! come forth from our your sheath,
And glist’ning, speak your powers;
Rip up the organs of my breath,
And draw my blood in showers!
I strike! It quivers in that heart
Which drives me to this end;
I draw and kiss the bloody dart,
My last—my only friend!

Abraham Lincoln,
His hand and pen:
He will be good but
God knows When.

Canto 1

My childhood’s home I see again,
    And sadden with the view;
And still, as memory crowds my brain,
    There’s pleasure in it too.

O Memory! thou midway world
    ‘Twixt earth and paradise,
Where things decayed and loved ones lost
    In dreamy shadows rise,

And, freed from all that’s earthly vile,
    Seem hallowed, pure, and bright,
Like scenes in some enchanted isle,
    All bathed in liquid light.

As dusky mountains please the eye,
    When twilight chases day;
As bugle-notes that, passing by,
    In distance die away;

As leaving some grand waterfall,
    We, lingering, list its roar—
So memory will hallow all
    We’ve known, but know no more.

Near twenty years have passed away
    Since here I bid farewell
To woods and fields, and scenes of play,
    And playmates loved so well.

Where many were, how few remain
    Of old familiar things;
But seeing them, to mind again
    The lost and absent brings.

The friends I left that parting day,
    How changed, as time has sped!
Young childhood grown, strong manhood gray,
    And half of all are dead.

I hear the loved survivors tell
    How nought from death could save,
Till every sound appears a knell,
    And every spot a grave.

I range the fields with pensive tread,
    And pace the hollow rooms;
And feel (companion of the dead)
    I’m living in the tombs.

        Canto 2

But here’s an object more of dread
    Than ought the grave contains—
A human form with reason fled,
    While wretched life remains.

Poor Matthew! Once of genius bright,
    A fortune-favored child—
Now locked for aye, in mental night,
    A haggard mad-man wild.

Poor Matthew! I have ne’er forgot
    When first, with maddened will,
Yourself you maimed, your father fought,
    And mother strove to kill;

When terror spread, and neighbours ran,
    Your dang’rous strength to bind;
And soon, a howling crazy man
    Your limbs were fast confined.

How then you strove and shrieked aloud,
    Your bones and sinnews bared;
And fiendish on the gazing crowd,
    With burning eye-balls glared—

And begged, and swore, and wept and prayed
    With maniac laughter joined—
How fearful were those signs displayed
    By pangs that killed thy mind!

And when at length, tho’ drear and long,
    Time soothed thy fiercer woes,
How plaintively thy mournful song,
    Upon the still night rose.

I’ve heard it oft, as if I dreamed,
    Far-distant, sweet, and lone—
The funeral dirge, it ever seemed
    Of reason dead and gone.

To drink its strains, I’ve stole away,
    All stealthily and still,
Ere yet the rising God of day
    Had streaked the Eastern hill.

Air held his breath; trees, with the spell,
    Seemed sorrowing angels round,
Whose swelling tears in dew-drops fell
    Upon the listening ground.

But this is past; and nought remains,
    That raised thee o’er the brute.
Thy piercing shrieks, and soothing strains,
    Are like, forever mute.

Now fare thee well—more thou the cause,
    Than subject now of woe.
All mental pangs, by time’s kind laws,
    Hast lost the power to know.

O death! Thou awe-inspiring prince,
    That keepst the world in fear;
Why dost thou tear more blest ones hence,
    And leave him ling’ring here?

2.0k
To Rosa

You are young, and I am older;
    You are hopeful, I am not—
Enjoy life, ere it grow colder—
    Pluck the roses ere they rot.

Teach your beau to heed the lay—
    That sunshine soon is lost in shade—
That now’s as good as any day—
    To take thee, Rosa, ere she fade.

Abraham Lincoln is my nam[e]
And with my pen I wrote the same
I wrote in both hast and speed
and left it here for fools to read

Gen. Lees invasion of the North written by himself—

    In eighteen sixty three, with pomp,
      and mighty swell,
    Me and Jeff’s Confederacy, went
      forth to sack Phil-del,
    The Yankees the got arter us, and
      giv us particular hell,
    And we skedaddled back again,
      And didn’t sack Phil-del.

A wild-bear chace, didst never see?
    Then hast thou lived in vain.
Thy richest bump of glorious glee,
    Lies desert in thy brain.

When first my father settled here,
    ’Twas then the frontier line:
The panther’s scream, filled night with fear
    And bears preyed on the swine.

But woe for Bruin’s short lived fun,
    When rose the squealing cry;
Now man and horse, with dog and gun,
    For vengeance, at him fly.

A sound of danger strikes his ear;
    He gives the breeze a snuff;
Away he bounds, with little fear,
    And seeks the tangled rough.

On press his foes, and reach the ground,
    Where’s left his half munched meal;
The dogs, in circles, scent around,
    And find his fresh made trail.

With instant cry, away they dash,
    And men as fast pursue;
O’er logs they leap, through water splash,
    And shout the brisk halloo.

Now to elude the eager pack,
    Bear shuns the open ground;
Through matted vines, he shapes his track
    And runs it, round and round.

The tall fleet cur, with deep-mouthed voice,
    Now speeds him, as the wind;
While half-grown pup, and short-legged fice,
    Are yelping far behind.

And fresh recruits are dropping in
    To join the merry corps:
With yelp and yell,—a mingled din—
    The woods are in a roar.

And round, and round the chace now goes,
    The world’s alive with fun;
Nick Carter’s horse, his rider throws,
    And more, Hill drops his gun.

Now sorely pressed, bear glances back,
    And lolls his tired tongue;
When as, to force him from his track,
    An ambush on him sprung.

Across the glade he sweeps for flight,
    And fully is in view.
The dogs, new-fired, by the sight,
    Their cry, and speed, renew.

The foremost ones, now reach his rear,
    He turns, they dash away;
And circling now, the wrathful bear,
    They have him full at bay.

At top of speed, the horse-men come,
    All screaming in a row,
“Whoop! Take him Tiger. Seize him Drum.”
    Bang,—bang—the rifles go.

And furious now, the dogs he tears,
    And crushes in his ire,
Wheels right and left, and upward rears,
    With eyes of burning fire.

But leaden death is at his heart,
    Vain all the strength he plies.
And, spouting blood from every part,
    He reels, and sinks, and dies.

And now a dinsome clamor rose,
    ’Bout who should have his skin;
Who first draws blood, each hunter knows,
    This prize must always win.

But who did this, and how to trace
    What’s true from what’s a lie,
Like lawyers, in a murder case
    They stoutly argufy.

Aforesaid fice, of blustering mood,
    Behind, and quite forgot,
Just now emerging from the wood,
    Arrives upon the spot.

With grinning teeth, and up-turned hair—
    Brim full of spunk and wrath,
He growls, and seizes on dead bear,
    And shakes for life and death.

And swells as if his skin would tear,
    And growls and shakes again;
And swears, as plain as dog can swear,
    That he has won the skin.

Conceited whelp! we laugh at thee—
    Nor mind, that now a few
Of pompous, two-legged dogs there be,
    Conceited quite as you.

1.6k
To Linnie

A sweet plaintive song did I hear,
  And I fancied that she was the singer—
May emotions as pure, as that song set a-stir
  Be the worst that the future shall bring her.

— The End —