FIND OUT ABOUT ABRAHAM LINCOLN AS A POET
The poetry of Abraham Lincoln
has been an interesting source into the psyche of this President. In
addition to two complete, narrative poems,
wrote several small verses throughout his life and possibly a poem in
the form of a suicide note
Childhood-Home I See Again"
In 1846, Lincoln completed the composition of one of his most serious
poems, which dealt with his emotions upon visiting his childhood home.
It is divided into two
The first section was mailed to Lincoln’s friend and fellow politician,
Andrew Johnston, on April 18, 1846. The second was mailed on September
6, 1846. On May 5, 1847, Johnston published both cantos in the Quincy
Whig and titled it as “The Return.” The first canto was dubbed “Part I –
Reflection,” and the second, “Part II – The Maniac.” A transcript of the
entire poem can be found
"The Bear Hunt"
When Johnston asked permission to publish “My Childhood-Home I See
Again,” Lincoln offered to have the third canto published along with it.
The third section was included in his February 25, 1847 letter. Johnston
did not feel that the final canto fit with the rest of the poem so he
did not publish it. The third section is known as a separate piece
titled “The Bear Hunt.” A transcript of entire poem can be found
"The Suicide's Soliloquy"
One of the more interesting poems attributed to Lincoln is “The
Suicide's Soliloquy.” It was found in the August 25, 1838
issue of the Sangamo Journal of Springfield, Illinois by Richard
Lawrence Miller in 1997. After studying the text and concluding that the
poem was composed by Lincoln, he announced his discovery in a 2004
newsletter of the Abraham Lincoln Association. Lincoln scholars are
still split on the authenticity of the poem. The poem is in the form of
a suicide note, written by a man about to kill himself on the banks of
the Sangamo River. Lincoln’s well known depression gives some scholars
cause to believe that he would write such a poem, even if he personally
had no intentions to commit suicide. Miller states that the poem fits
the meter, syntax, diction, and tone of Lincoln’s other works.
Lincoln had expressed suicidal thoughts to his friend Joshua Speed on
two separate occasions at the ages of twenty-six and thirty-one. Speed
had told Lincoln’s biographer, William Herndon, that Lincoln had
published a poem in 1838. Going off information from Herndon’s research,
it was concluded that the poem was published in the summer of 1841,
coinciding with the time of Lincoln’s “fatal first of January”
breakdown. Thus scholars had been unable to locate it.
Around the time when Lincoln was fifteen or seventeen, he wrote a few
short poems in his arithmetic book but they are not very substantial.
Abraham Lincoln is my nam[e]
And with my pen I wrote the same
I wrote in both hast and speed
and left it here for fools to read
After his compositions of 1846, Lincoln continued to write poetry. Such
poems include the short piece dedicated to Linnie Haggard, daughter of
the owner of a hotel where Lincoln stayed in Winchester, Illinois, dated
September 30, 1858.
A sweet plaintive song did I hear,
And I fancied that she was the singer—
May emotions as pure, as that song set a-stir
Be the worst that the future shall bring her.
LINCOLN'S FAVORITE POEMS CLICK HERE
POETRY WRITTEN BY ABRAHAM LINCOLN CLICK HERE