Page images

For him her Old-World moulds aside she threw,

And, choosing sweet clay from the breast

Of the unexhausted West, With stuff untainted shaped a hero new, Wise, steadfast in the strength of God, and true.

How beautiful to see Once more a shepherd of mankind indeed, Who loved his charge, but never loved to lead; One whose meek flock the people joyed to be,

Not lured by any cheat of birth,

But by his clear-grained human worth, And brave old wisdom of sincerity!

They knew that outward grace is dust;

They could not choose but trust
In that sure-footed mind's unfaltering skill,

And supple-tempered will
That bent like perfect steel to spring again and

His was no lonely mountain-peak of mind,
Thrusting to thin air o'er our cloudy bars,
A sea-mark now, now lost in vapors blind;
Broad prairie rather, genial, level-lined,

Fruitful and friendly for all human-kind,
Yet also nigh to heaven and loved of loftiest


Nothing of Europe here,
Or, then, of Europe fronting mornward still,

Ere any names of Serf and Peer
Could Nature's equal scheme deface

And thwart her genial will;

Here was a type of the true elder race,
And one of Plutarch's men talked with us face

to face.
I praise him not; it were too late;
And some innative weakness there must be
In him who condescends to victory


Such as the Present gives, and cannot wait,
Safe in himself as in a fate.

So always firmly he:
He knew to bide his time,

And can his fame abide,
Still patient in his simple faith sublime,

Till the wise years decide.
Great captains, with their guns and drums,
Disturb our judgment for the hour,

But at last silence comes;
These all are gone, and, standing like a tower,
Our children shall behold his fame,

The kindly-earnest, brave, foreseeing man, Sagacious, patient, dreading praise, not blame,

New birth of our new soil, the first American.

Lincoln's Personal Appearance.*


He was about six feet four inches high, and when he left this city was fifty-one years old, having good health and no gray hairs, or but few on his head. He was thin, wiry, sinewy, rawboned; thin through the breast to the back, and narrow across the shoulders; standing, he leaned forward—was what may be called stoop-shouldered, inclining to the consumptive by build. His usual weight was one hundred and sixty pounds. His organization-rather his structure and functions—worked slowly. His blood had to run a long distance from his heart to the extremities of his frame, and his nerve-force had

* From an address delivered in Springfield, Illinois, December 12, 1865.

to travel through dry ground a long distance before his muscles were obedient to his will. His structure was loose and leathery; his body was shrunk and shrivelled, having dark skin, dark hair,-looking woe-struck.

The whole man, body and mind, worked slowly, creakingly, as if it needed oiling. Physically, he was a very powerful man, lifting with ease four hundred or six hundred pounds. His mind was like his body, and worked slowly but strongly. When he walked, he moved cautiously but firmly, his long arms and hands on them, hanging like giant's hands, swung down by his side.

He walked with even tread, the inner sides of his feet being parallel. He put the whole foot flat down on the ground at once, not landing on the heel; he likewise lifted his foot all at once, not rising from the toe, and hence he had no spring to his walk. He had economy of fall and lift of foot, though he had no spring or apparent ease of motion in his tread. He walked undulatory, up and down, catching and pocketing tire, weariness, and pain, all up and down his person, preventing them from locating. The first opinion of a stranger, or a man who did not observe closely, was that his walk implied shrewdness, cunning,-a tricky man; but his was the walk of caution and firmness. In sitting down on a common chair he was no taller than ordinary

His legs and arms were, abnormally, unnaturally long, and in undue proportion to the balance of his body. It was only when he stood up that he loomed above other men.

Mr. Lincoln's head was long and tall from the base of the brain and from the eyebrows. His head ran backwards, his forehead rising as


it ran back at a low angle, like Clay's, and, unlike Webster's, almost perpendicular. The size of his hat, measured at the hatter's block, was 778, his head being, from ear to ear, 6/2 inches, and from the front to the back of the brain 8 inches. Thus measured, it was not below the medium size. His forehead was narrow but high; his hair was dark, almost black, and lay floating where his fingers or the winds left it, piled up at random. His cheek-bones were high, sharp, and prominent; his eyebrows heavy and prominent; his jaws were long, upcurved, and heavy; his nose was large, long, and blunt, a little awry towards the right eye; his chin was long, sharp, and upcurved; his eyebrows cropped out like a huge rock on the brow of a hill; his face was long, sallow, and cadaverous, shrunk, shrivelled, wrinkled, and dry, having here and there a hair on the surface; his cheeks were leathery; his ears were large, and ran out almost at right angles from his head, caused partly by heavy hats and partly by nature; his lower lip was thick, hanging, and undercurved, while his chin reached for the lip upcurved; his neck was neat and trim, his head being well balanced on it; there was the lone mole on the right cheek, and Adam's apple on his throat.

Thus stood, walked, acted, and looked Abraham Lincoln. He was not a pretty man by any means, nor was he an ugly one; he was a homely man, careless of his looks, plain-looking and plain-acting. He had no pomp, display, or dignity, so-called. He appeared simple in his carriage and bearing. He was a sad-looking man; his melancholy dripped from him as he walked. His apparent gloom impressed his friends, and created a sympathy for him—one means of his great success. He was gloomy, abstracted, and joyous,-rather humorous-by turns. I do not think he knew what real joy was for many years.

Thus, I say, stood and walked and looked this singular man. He was odd, but when that gray eye and face and every feature were lit up by the inward soul in fires of emotion, then it was that all these apparently ugly features sprang into organs of beauty, or sunk themselves into a sea of inspiration that sometimes flooded his face. Sometimes it appeared to me that Lincoln's soul was just fresh from the presence of its Creator.

[See also “Lincoln's Personal Appearance,” page 283, volume five, present edition.]

President Lincoln's State Papers.*

BY HENRY J. RAYMOND. No one can read Mr. Lincoln's state papers without perceiving in them a most remarkable faculty of “putting things” so as to command the attention and assent of the common people. His style of thought as well as of expression is thoroughly in harmony with their habitual modes of thinking and of speaking. His intellect is keen, emphatically logical in its action, and capable of the closest and most subtle analysis: and he uses language for the sole purpose

* From “ History of the Administration of President Lincoln," by Henry J. Raymond, 1864. Mr. Raymond was editor of the New York Times, and the Chairman of the Executive National Committee of the Union (Republican) party at the time.

« PreviousContinue »