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
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.
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
expressed the opinion that it was when Lincoln
was lying on his back on the office sofa, apparently