Louis Untermeyer, ed. (1885–1977). Modern American Poetry. 1919.Vachel Lindsay18791931
Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight(In Springfield, Illinois)
That here at midnight, in our little town
A mourning figure walks, and will not rest,
Near the old court-house pacing up and down,
He lingers where his children used to play,
Or through the market, on the well-worn stones
He stalks until the dawn-stars burn away.
A famous high top-hat and plain worn shawl
Make him the quaint great figure that men love,
The prairie-lawyer, master of us all.
He is among us:—as in times before!
And we who toss and lie awake for long,
Breathe deep, and start, to see him pass the door.
Yea, when the sick world cries, how can he sleep?
Too many peasants fight, they know not why;
Too many homesteads in black terror weep.
He sees the dreadnaughts scouring every main.
He carries on his shawl-wrapped shoulders now
The bitterness, the folly and the pain.
Shall come;—the shining hope of Europe free:
A league of sober folk, the Workers’ Earth,
Bringing long peace to Cornland, Alp and Sea.
That all his hours of travail here for men
Seem yet in vain. And who will bring white peace
That he may sleep upon his hill again?