the occasion in two hours as you did in two minutes.”
Today the Address
reads as if Lincoln
knew that it would ultimately be stamped in bronze.
Yet the real test of Lincoln
's supremacy in our distinctly civic literature lies not so much in his skill in the manipulation of language, consummate as that was, but rather in those large elements of his nature which enabled him to perceive the true quality and ideal of American citizenship and its significance to the world.
There was melancholy in that nature, else there had been a less rich humor; there was mysticism and a sense of religion which steadily deepened as his responsibilities increased.
There was friendliness, magnanimity, pity for the sorrowful, patience for the slow of brain and heart, and an expectation for the future of humanity which may best be described in the old phrase “waiting for the Kingdom of God.”
His recurrent dream of the ship coming into port under full sail, which preluded many important events in his own life-he had it the night before he was assassinated — is significant not only of that triumph of a free nation which he helped to make possible, but also of the victory of what he loved to call “the whole family of man.”