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Selected Poetry of Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)


from Representative Poetry On-line
Prepared by members of the Department of English at the University of Toronto
from 1912 to the present and published by the University of Toronto Press from 1912 to 1967.
RPO Edited by Ian Lancashire
A UTEL (University of Toronto English Library) Edition
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries
© 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto

Index to poems

I range the fields with pensive tread,
And pace the hollow rooms;
And feel (companion of the dead)
I'm living in the tombs.
        (My Childhood's Home I See Again, 37-40)
  1. Abraham Lincoln
  2. The Bear Hunt
  3. My Childhood's Home I See Again
  4. To Rosa


Notes on Life and Works

Abraham Lincoln was born 12 February 1809 near Hodgenville, Kentucky, and grew up with little formal schooling. Self-educated, he was eventually elected to the Illinois House of Representatives and served from 1834 to 1842. Admitted to the bar in 1836, Lincoln used law as a gateway into politics, which dominated his life. He became Vice-Presidential candidate for the (new) Republic Party in 1856 and was elected 16th President of the United States, serving from 1861 to his assassination by John Wilkes Booth in Washington on April 15, 1865. Lincoln's slave emancipation principles led to the civil war between the North and the South in 1861. He was survived by his wife Mary Todd, whom he married in 1842 in Springfield, Illinois, and one son.

Lincoln's favourite poem was "Mortality" by the Scottish poet William Knox. Its religious melancholy ran through Lincoln's own, always occasional poems, which set down personal thoughts on his life in the context of Biblical time.

Biographical information

Given name: Abraham
Family name: Lincoln
Honorific: President
Birth date: 12 February 1809
Death date: 15 April 1865
Nationality: American
Politics: Republican: 1856 to 1865
Occupations
          Lawyer
          Politician
Cause of death: Murder
Buried at: Oak Ridge Cemeteryl, Springfield, Illinois
First RPO edition: 2003