James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

February 12

Abraham Lincoln

By Joel Benton (1832–1911)

(Born Feb. 12, 1809)

SOME opulent force of genius, soul and race,

Some deep life-current from far centuries

Flowed to his mind, and lighted his sad eyes,

And gave his name, among great names, high place.

But these are miracles we may not trace—

Nor say why from a source and lineage mean

He rose to grandeur never dreamt or seen,

Or told on the long scroll of history’s space.

The tragic fate of one broad hemisphere

Fell on stern days to his supreme control,

All that the world and liberty held dear

Pressed like a nightmare on his patient soul.

Martyr beloved, on whom, when life was done

Fame looked, and saw another Washington!