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   English Poetry III: From Tennyson to Whitman.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
752. The Death of Lincoln
 
William Cullen Bryant (1794–1878)
 
 
OH, slow to smite and swift to spare,
  Gentle and merciful and just!
Who, in the fear of God, didst bear
  The sword of power, a nation’s trust!
 
In sorrow by thy bier we stand,        5
  Amid the awe that hushes all,
And speak the anguish of a land
  That shook with horror at thy fall.
 
Thy task is done; the bond are free:
  We bear thee to an honored grave,        10
Whose proudest monument shall be
  The broken fetters of the slave.
 
Pure was thy life; its bloody close
  Hath placed thee with the sons of light,
Among the noble host of those        15
  Who perished in the cause of Right.
April, 1865.
 

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