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[226] poem has had a more dramatic and intense life in the quick breathing imagination of men.

More and more, however, the instinct of our people is turning to the words of Abraham Lincoln as the truest embodiment in language, as his life was the truest embodiment in action, of our national ideal. It is a curious reversal of contemporary judgments that thus discovers in the homely phrases of a frontier lawyer the most perfect literary expression of the deeper spirit of his time. “How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?” asked the critical East. The answer is that he had learned in a better school than the East afforded. The story of Lincoln's life is happily too familiar to need retelling here, but some of the elements in his growth in the mastery of speech may at least be summarized.

Lincoln had a slow, tireless mind, capable of intense concentration. It was characteristic of him that he rarely took notes when trying a law case, saying that the notes distracted his attention. When his partner Herndon was asked when Lincoln had found time to study out the constitutional history of the United States, Herndon expressed the opinion that it was when Lincoln was lying on his back on the office sofa, apparently

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