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Abraham Lincoln

(12 February 1809 – 15 April 1865 / Sinking Spring Farm, Kentucky)

My Childhood Home I See Again


I

My childhood's home I see again,
And sadden with the view;
And still, as memory crowds my brain,
There's pleasure in it too.

O Memory! thou midway world
'Twixt earth and paradise,
Where things decayed and loved ones lost
In dreamy shadows rise,

And, freed from all that's earthly vile,
Seem hallowed, pure, and bright,
Like scenes in some enchanted isle
All bathed in liquid light.

As dusky mountains please the eye
When twilight chases day;
As bugle-tones that, passing by,
In distance die away;

As leaving some grand waterfall,
We, lingering, list its roar--
So memory will hallow all
We've known, but know no more.

Near twenty years have passed away
Since here I bid farewell
To woods and fields, and scenes of play,
And playmates loved so well.

Where many were, but few remain
Of old familiar things;
But seeing them, to mind again
The lost and absent brings.

The friends I left that parting day,
How changed, as time has sped!
Young childhood grown, strong manhood gray,
And half of all are dead.

I hear the loved survivors tell
How nought from death could save,
Till every sound appears a knell,
And every spot a grave.

I range the fields with pensive tread,
And pace the hollow rooms,
And feel (companion of the dead)
I'm living in the tombs.

II

But here's an object more of dread
Than ought the grave contains--
A human form with reason fled,
While wretched life remains.

Poor Matthew! Once of genius bright,
A fortune-favored child--
Now locked for aye, in mental night,
A haggard mad-man wild.

Poor Matthew! I have ne'er forgot,
When first, with maddened will,
Yourself you maimed, your father fought,
And mother strove to kill;

When terror spread, and neighbors ran,
Your dange'rous strength to bind;
And soon, a howling crazy man
Your limbs were fast confined.

How then you strove and shrieked aloud,
Your bones and sinews bared;
And fiendish on the gazing crowd,
With burning eye-balls glared--

And begged, and swore, and wept and prayed
With maniac laught[ter?] joined--
How fearful were those signs displayed
By pangs that killed thy mind!

And when at length, tho' drear and long,
Time smoothed thy fiercer woes,
How plaintively thy mournful song
Upon the still night rose.

I've heard it oft, as if I dreamed,
Far distant, sweet, and lone--
The funeral dirge, it ever seemed
Of reason dead and gone.

To drink it's strains, I've stole away,
All stealthily and still,
Ere yet the rising God of day
Had streaked the Eastern hill.

Air held his breath; trees, with the spell,
Seemed sorrowing angels round,
Whose swelling tears in dew-drops fell
Upon the listening ground.

But this is past; and nought remains,
That raised thee o'er the brute.
Thy piercing shrieks, and soothing strains,
Are like, forever mute.

Now fare thee well--more thou the cause,
Than subject now of woe.
All mental pangs, by time's kind laws,
Hast lost the power to know.

O death! Thou awe-inspiring prince,
That keepst the world in fear;
Why dost thos tear more blest ones hence,
And leave him ling'ring here?

Submitted: Saturday, January 04, 2003

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Read poems about / on: childhood, memory, lost, funeral, crazy, farewell, home, death, strength, father, power, rose, song, child, mother, world, fear, night, light, dream

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  • Rookie George Herquet (6/13/2014 9:16:00 AM)

    I read an edited version of this someplace; there was nothing about Matthew, but there was a comment about the field he walked upon being a part of him; that it had formed his blood and bones. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Ravi Chandran (4/25/2007 4:57:00 AM)

    that is a very great thinking of yours. you are really blessed with imagination and true use of words. i really enjoyed very much.
    please read my poems at www.poemhunter.com/ravi-chandran
    i will be very greatful if you comment me
    \thank u keep it up. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Michael Gale (10/5/2006 3:21:00 PM)

    In civil war of brother against brother...
    There came a man in bearded face to slavery wanted erase.

    In times of war of mother country in history man takes his violent place...
    Of man's own violent ways he cannot ever face.

    Freedom of man is his own precise...
    That factual fact he must come to realize.

    War of man is a maddening disease...
    Still the fact that needs to cease.

    Ole Abe Lincoln fed the flames of freedom's train...
    Equality of woman and man should forever on our heads to fall and rain.

    I cannot understand no one not has commented on this poem.
    Oh well. This was a nice poem. God bless all poets-May they be Presidents
    or even civilians-MJG. (Report) Reply

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