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Full text of "Poem : Abraham Lincoln"

POEM 



Abraham Lincoln 



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BY 



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JACK THORNE" 



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Written at the request of the colored citizens* Lincoln Centenary Gjm- 
mittee — Mr. Geo. E. Wibecan, Jr., Chairman — and read before two 
thousand five hundred people at the Baptist Temple, Brooklyn, N. Y., 
February 1 2th, 1909- 

Meis Amicis, Rev. and Mrs. W. R. Lawton, Rev. Geo. Frazier Miller 
and Rev. A. R. Cooper, of Brooklyn, N. Y. 



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ABRAHAM LINCOLN 

Far in the West, in forest wild, 
Was born one day, to us, a child ; 
A man most truly great to be, 
Although of humble birth was he. 
No herald the event proclaimed; 
No royal scribe wrote down his name. 
A hut of logs rough hewn and bare, 
With scarce enough of light and air; 
A bed of straw, a floor of earth — 
Such was the scene, the place of birth 
Of him whose name the world reveres ; 
That grows in greatness with the years. 



Uncouth, unlettered — yet a prince, 

The impious scoft'er to convince, 

That God vouchsafed no right divine 

To man, his fellows to confine ; 

To mark their bounds, their course dictate ; 

A royal road to greatness make, 

The cabin floor, the pine knots' blaze. 

Might be the medium fit to raise 

Ambitious man from low estate, 

To heights ennobling, truly great ; 

From raft of logs with peers to stand. 

The applause of senates to command. 

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A grateful nation now in praise. 

From loyal heart a song must raise 

To God, for those who blazed the way. 

For Freedom's universal sway; 

For those who prayed on Plymouth's Rock ; 

For those who felt the awful shock 

Of war with savage fierce and wild ; 

Who gazed in Death's grim face and smiled, 

Because from tyranny's haughty sway. 

The sacrifice would pave the way. 

4 
Yet few were those who rose above 
The common trend of thought; and strove 
To tear away the pall of shame. 
That blurred their country's sacred name ; 
A sleeping conscience sought to 'wake ; 
The alien's galling chain to break ; 
AVho braved the scorn of bigots base. 
To succor a benighted race. 
Foremost among this stalwart few. 
Stood Old Abe Lincoln stanch and true 
In every fibre of his frame, 
He waited 'till the hour came. 



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Then raised on high the fiery brand, 
To scourge the evil from the land 
The awful storm of blood and tears, 
Did rage and beat for four long years. 
The world looked on in blank dismay. 
As brothers struggled in the fray. 
All reverence for his wisdom fled ; 
They heaped reproaches on his head. 
Foes lurked his pathway, stormed his door 
And wise men deemed his judgment poor. 
Yet firm and undismayed he stood ; 
This rustic lawyer: hew'r of wood! 



Although at times defeat he saw, 

Yet still, he deemed it Saxon war. 

Reluctantly he gave the word, 

Which called forth the immortal horde. ■ 

The alien host unshackled, free, 

Rose like an angry, billowy sea — • 

And grateful for the longed for chance, 

To check the sullen foe's advance. 

Let Wagner and Fort Pillow tell. 

The glorious story, how they fell ! 

Newmarket Heights — Oh gorv field ! 

In Freedom's cause they could not yield ! • 

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Up ! up that rugged steep — and wide. 
They climbed to glory side by side, 
Or calmly laid them down to rest. 
Clasped to a Spartan mother's breast. 
Brave chattels from the auction block ! 
They faced alone the "Crater's'' shock. 
And' changed the scoffer's laugh to cheers. 
The skeptic's eyes made wet with tears. 



And when 'twas o'er — the strife, the pain, 
There lay their great commander, slain ! 
They raised the blazing torch on high. 
To light his pathway to the sky. 
Be hushed forever, lips of scorn ! 
In generations yet unborn. 
Parents to children still will tell, 
While love and pride their bosoms swell ; 
The rough backwoodsman of the W^est, 
Was he who served his country best. 
And nations still shall gather there. 
Around the Martyr's sepulchre. 



FROM PORTER TO POET. 



The Literary Achievements of Jack Thorne, 
Former Pullman Employee. 

David B. Fulton (Jack Thorne), whose poem, 
"Abraham Lincohi," was largely used at the recent 
one hundredth anniversary celebration of the great 
emancipator, is also the author of several published 
works. His first book, "Recollections of a Sleeping 
Car Porter," is the story of many hardships and diffi- 
culties which the author had experienced during a 
number of years in various parts of the United States 
and Canada while in the employ of the Pullman Palace 
Car Company. But the latest powers of his mind and 
the youthful ambitions of his heart were not fully 
exercised nor fired to patriotic expressions of indig- 
nation until the awful tragedy of the "race riots," 
which occurred some years ago at Wilmington, N. C, 
in which hundreds of his race v^ere slain and others 
driven from home and their property destroyed. 

The horrors of the "riots" gave birth to "Hanover," 
a stor}^ of the Wilmington riots, which has had a 
large sale. "Hanover" was followed by "Eagle 
Clippings," a collection of writings in answer to 
various criticisms of the negro race. 

W. B. DODSON, 

Editorial Staff, 

Am. Press Association.