FRIDAY OF THE FIFTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Birthday of President Abraham Lincoln, 1809
-an excerpt from Henrietta Cordelia Ray’s poem Lincoln first read at the unveiling of the Emancipation Memorial in Washington, DC in April of 1878:
Eleven years have rolled their seasons round,
Since its most tragic close thy life-work found.
Yet through the vistas of the vanished days
We see thee still, responsive to our gaze,
As ever to thy country’s solemn needs.
Not regal coronets, but princely deeds
Were thy chaste diadem; of truer worth
Thy modest virtues than the gems of earth.
Stanch, honest, fervent in the purest cause,
Truth was thy guide; her mandates were thy laws.
And now we dedicate this shaft to thee,
True champion! in all humility
And solemn earnestness, we would erect
A monument invisible, undecked,
Save by our allied purpose to be true
To Freedom’s loftiest precepts, so that through
The fiercest contests we may walk secure,
Fixed on foundations that may still endure,
When granite shall have crumbled to decay,
And generations passed from earth away.
Exalted patriot! illustrious chief!
Thy life’s immortal work compels belief
To-day in radiance thy virtues shine,
And how can we a fitting garland twine?
Thy crown most glorious to a ransomed race!
High on our country’s scroll we fondly trace,
In lives of fadeless light that softly blend,
Emancipator, hero, martyr, friend!
While Freedom may her holy scepter claim,
The world shall echo with Our Lincoln’s name.
Father Bill +