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Francis B. Carpenter, Six Months at the White House 2 0 Browse Search
William H. Herndon, Jesse William Weik, Herndon's Lincoln: The True Story of a Great Life, Etiam in minimis major, The History and Personal Recollections of Abraham Lincoln by William H. Herndon, for twenty years his friend and Jesse William Weik 1 1 Browse Search
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Francis B. Carpenter, Six Months at the White House, XIX. (search)
entioning the subject, the sculptor surprised me by saying that he had at his home, in Philadelphia, a printed copy of the verses, taken from a newspaper some years previous. The President inquired if they were published in any connection with his name. Mr. Swayne said that they purported to have been written by Abraham Lincoln. I have heard of that before, and that is why I asked, returned the President. But there is no truth in it. The poem was first shown to me by a young man named Jason Duncan, many years ago. The sculptor was using for a studio the office of the Solicitor of the Treasury Department, an irregular room, packed nearly full of law books. Seating myself, I believe, upon a pile of these at Mr. Lincoln's feet, he kindly repeated the lines, which I wrote down, one by one, as they fell from his lips:-- Oh! why should the spirit of mortal be proud? the authorship of this poem has been made known since this publication in the evening post. it was written by W
l oration, he broke down in the midst of his address. His voice was choked with deep emotion; he stood a few moments while his lips quivered in the effort to form the words of fervent praise he sought to utter, and the tears ran down his yellow and shrivelled cheeks. Every heart was hushed at the spectacle. After repeated efforts he found it impossible to speak, and strode away, bitterly sobbing, to the widow's carriage and was driven from the scene. It was shortly after this that Dr. Jason Duncan placed in Lincoln's hands a poem called Immortality. The piece starts out with the line, Oh! Why should the spirit of mortal be proud. Lincoln's love for this poem has certainly made it immortal. He committed these lines to memory, and any reference to or mention of Miss Rutledge would suggest them, as if to celebrate a grief which lay with continual heaviness on his heart. There is no question that from this time forward Mr. Lincoln's spells of melancholy became more intense than