Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Abraham Lincoln was a poet: "My Childhood Home I See Again"

Today is April 14, 2015, the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's assassination on 1865.

He was killed by actor John Wilkes Booth.

I've chosen a poem that he wrote in 1848 called My Childhood Home I See Again.

In the spring of 1846 Abraham Lincoln sent some poetry to his friend Andrew Johnston, and on September 6 enclosed additional stanzas with his letter. At Lincoln's request, Johnston published portions of the poetry anonymously in the Quincy, Illinois Whig on May 5, 1847.

Lincoln offered Johnston an explanation of the first poem ("My Childhood Home I See Again"), saying he had visited his boyhood neighborhood in southern Indiana in the fall of 1844 while campaigning for presidential hopeful Henry Clay. He commented that the region was "as unpoetical as any spot of the earth," but it brought back memories of loved ones such as his mother and sister who lay buried there.

He made Matthew Gentry the subject of Part II, telling Johnston: "He is three years older than I, and when we were boys we went to school together. He was rather a bright lad, and the son of the rich man of our poor neighborhood. At the age of nineteen he unaccountably became furiously mad, from which condition he gradually settled down into harmless insanity. When, as I told you in my other letter I visited my old home in the fall of 1844, I found him still lingering in this wretched condition. In my poetizing mood I could not forget the impression his case made upon me."

My Childhood Home I See Again was recorded on 14 April, 2014

You can listen to it HERE on Soundcloud.

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