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Newly Discovered Poem Likely Lincoln's

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Newly Discovered Poem Likely Lincoln's

Newly Discovered Poem Likely Lincoln's

Newly Discovered Poem Likely Lincoln's

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1951239/1951240" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

A presidential historian says he's found an unsigned poem published in 1838 that was likely written by Abraham Lincoln. Hear NPR's Neal Conan and Joshua Wolf Shenk, author of The Melancholy of Lincoln.

The Suicide's Soliloquy

Here, where the lonely hooting owl

Sends forth his midnight moans,

Fierce wolves shall o'er my carcase growl,

Or buzzards pick my bones.

No fellow-man shall learn my fate,

Or where my ashes lie;

Unless by beasts drawn round their bait,

Or by the ravens' cry.

Yes! I've resolved the deed to do,

And this the place to do it:

This heart I'll rush a dagger through,

Though I in hell should rue it!

Hell! What is hell to one like me

Who pleasures never know;

By friends consigned to misery,

By hope deserted too?

To ease me of this power to think,

That through my bosom raves,

I'll headlong leap from hell's high brink,

And wallow in its waves.

Though devils yell, and burning chains

May waken long regret;

Their frightful screams, and piercing pains,

Will help me to forget.

Yes! I'm prepared, through endless night,

To take that fiery berth!

Think not with tales of hell to fright

Me, who am damn'd on earth!

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Sweet steel! come forth from our your sheath,

And glist'ning, speak your powers;

Rip up the organs of my breath,

And draw my blood in showers!

I strike! It quivers in that heart

Which drives me to this end;

I draw and kiss the bloody dart,

My last—my only friend!

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