Lincoln Is Dead

By George Moses Horton 1798–1883 George Moses Horton
He is gone, the strong base of the nation,
    The dove to his covet has fled;
Ye heroes lament his privation,
    For Lincoln is dead.
 
He is gone down, the sun of the Union,
    Like Phoebus, that sets in the west;
The planet of peace and communion,
    Forever has gone to his rest.
 
He is gone down from a world of commotion,
    No equal succeeds in his stead;
His wonders extend with the ocean,
    Whose waves murmur, Lincoln is dead.
 
He is gone and can ne’er be forgotten,
    Whose great deeds eternal shall bloom;
When gold, pearls and diamonds are rotten,
    His deeds will break forth from the tomb.
 
He is gone out of glory to glory,
    A smile with the tear may be shed,
O, then let us tell the sweet story,
    Triumphantly, Lincoln is dead.

Source: “Words for the Hour”: A New Anthology of American Civil War Poetry, edited by Faith Barrett and Cristanne Miller (University of Massachusetts Press, 2005)

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Poet George Moses Horton 1798–1883

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Subjects Social Commentaries, History & Politics, War & Conflict, Mythology & Folklore, Heroes & Patriotism

Poetic Terms Elegy, Quatrain, Rhymed Stanza

Biography

Born a slave on William Horton’s tobacco plantation, George Moses Horton taught himself to read. Around 1815 he began composing poems in his head, saying them aloud and “selling” them to an increasingly large crowd of buyers at the weekly Chapel Hill farmers market. Students at the nearby University of North Carolina bought his love poems and lent him books. As his fame spread, he gained the attention of Caroline Lee Whiting . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Social Commentaries, History & Politics, War & Conflict, Mythology & Folklore, Heroes & Patriotism

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Poetic Terms Elegy, Quatrain, Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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