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FOULLY ASSASSINATED, APRIL 14, 1865.
You lay a wreath on murdered Lincoln's bier,
His length of shambling limb, his furrowed face,
His gaunt, gnarled hands, his unkempt, bristling hair,
Of power or will to shine, of art to please.
You, whose smart pen backed up the pencil's laugh,
Of chief's perplexity, or people's pain.
Beside this corpse, that bears for winding-sheet
Say, scurrile jester, is there room for you?
Yes, he had lived to shame me from my sneer,
This rail-splitter a true-born king of men.
My shallow judgment I had learnt to rue,
Noting how to occasion's height he rose,
How humble, yet how hopeful he could be:
How in good fortune and in ill the same: Nor bitter in success, nor boastful he,
Thirsty for gold, nor feverish for fame.
He went about his work-such work as few
Man's honest will must Heaven's good grace command;
Who trusts the strength will with the burden grow,
Nor temper with the weights of good and ill.
So he went forth to battle, on the side
That he felt clear was Liberty's and Right's, As in his peasant boyhood he had plied
His warfare with rude Nature's thwarting mights
The uncleared forest, the unbroken soil,
The iron bark that turns the lumberer's axe, The rapid, that o'erbears the boatman's toil,
The prairie, hiding the mazed wanderer's tracks,
The ambushed Indian, and the prowling bear
Such were the needs that helped his youth to train: Rough culture-but such trees large fruit may bear, If but their stocks be of right girth and grain.
So he grew up, a destined work to do,
And lived to do it: four long-suffering years, Ill-fate, ill-feeling, ill-report, lived through,
And then he heard the hisses changed to cheers,
The taunts to tribute, the abuse to praise,
And took both with the same unwavering mood: Till, as he came on light, from darkling days,
And seemed to touch the goal from where he stood,
A felon had, between the goal and him,
Reached from behind his back, a trigger prest— And those perplexed and patient eyes were dim,
Those gaunt, long-laboring limbs were laid to rest!
The words of mercy were upon his lips,
Forgiveness in his heart and on his pen, When this vile murderer brought swift eclipse To thoughts of peace on earth, good-will to men.
The Old World and the New, from sea to sea,
TREASON has done his worst!
Has made the Nation orphan by a blow:
Has turned its hymns of joy to wail and woe
As for a father lost, a saviour slain,—
And blood, and toil, and anguish spent in vain !
Half his great work was done,
By victory won
O'er recreant chiefs, and rebels in the field,
Deep joy was in his soul
As o'er it roll
Sweet thoughts of peace and magnanimity,
Wounds healed, wrath quelled, his country free,
While all suspicion slept,
Into the circle where, in guardless state,
In peace, great martyr, sleep!
But stop their tears to swear upon thy grave
The traitor's fiendlike act,
Binds us still closer 'gainst the murderous band
Oh, for this hellish deed
That else had lived to bless thy gentle name
THE ASSASSIN AND HIS FATE.
BOOTH, after escaping from the theatre, galloped away so rapidly, yet quietly, that his accomplice, Harold, stationed there did not at first notice it, and was consequently unable to overtake him for a considerable time. Their flight had, however, been well planned; their confederates, who had regularly called out to each other the time in front of the theatre, had, as the blow was struck, cut the telegraph wires. Booth and Harold's destination was Surrattville, the tavern of Mrs. Surratt, one of the conspirators. Here carbines and whiskey were in readiness for them, she herself going that very day for the second time to prevent mistake or delay. Although Booth, in his leap to the stage, had broken the smaller bone of his leg, this did not prevent his flight, and galloping past the Patent Office, over Capital Hill, and crossing the Eastern branch at Uniontown, Booth gave his name to the officer in charge, who having no tidings of the crime, and seeing nothing suspicious, allowed him and Harold to proceed, but detained a third.
Having passed this first obstacle, Booth pushed on, and at midnight the two reached Surrattville. Harold immediately roused Lloyd, the landlord, and got from him the carbines, whiskey, and field-glass which Mrs. Surratt had directed him to give them. They took but one carbine, Harold saying that Booth had broken his leg and could not carry it. The other carbine remained in the hall and was found by the officers.
Just as they were about leaving, Booth said, "I will tell you some news, if you want to hear it." Lloyd says that he replied: "I am not particular; use your own choice about telling news." "Well," said Booth, "I am pretty certain that we have assassinated the President and Secretary Seward."
Thus proclaiming his crime, Booth and his comrade dashed