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RECITATIONS AND DIALOGUES.
ADDRESS AT THE DEDICATION OF THE CEMETERY AT GETTYSBURG.
A. LINCOLN, NOV. 1864.
FOURSCORE and seven years ago our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that We are met to dedicate a portion of it as the final resting-place of those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But in a larger sense we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work they have thus far so nobly carried on. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us, that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to the cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that the nation shall, under God, have a new birth of freedom, and that the government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
THOMAS BUCHANAN READ.
Up from the South at break of day,
And wider still those billows of war
As he thought of the stake in that fiery fray,
But there is a road from Winchester town,
And there through the flash of the morning light,
Still sprung from those swift hoofs thundering south,
BUT ONE PAIR OF STOCKINGS TO MEND. 21
Under his spurning feet the road
And the steed, like a bark fed with furnace ire,
The first that the General saw were the groups
Of stragglers, and then the retreating troops;
He dashed down the line 'mid a storm of huzzahs,
And the wave of retreat checked its course there because
The sight of the master compelled it to pause.
With foam and with dust the black charger was gray,
Hurrah, hurrah for Sheridan!
Hurrah, hurrah for horse and man!
And when their statues are placed on high,
THERE'S BUT ONE PAIR OF STOCKINGS TO
An old wife sat by her bright fireside,
In an easy chair, whose creaky craw
While down by her side, on the kitchen floor,
The good man dozed o'er the latest news,
Yet still sat the wife in the ancient chair,
But anon, a misty tear drop came
Then trickled down in a furrow deep
Like a single drop of dew;
So deep was the channel-so silent the stream
That the good man saw nought but the dimmed eye beam
Yet marvelled he much that the cheerful light
Of her eye had heavy grown,
And marvelled he more at the tangled balls,
So he said in a gentle tone
"I have shared thy joys since our marriage vow, Conceal not from me thy sorrows now."
Then she spoke of the time when the basket there
And now, there remained of the goodly pile
But a single pair-for him;
"Then wonder not at the dimmed eye-light, There's but one pair of stockings to mend to-night.
"I cannot but think of the busy feet,
Whose wrappings were wont to lay
In the basket, awaiting the needle's time-
BUT ONE PAIR OF STOCKINGS TO MEND. 23
How the sprightly steps to a mother dear,
"For each empty nook in the basket old
'Tis for this that a tear gathered over my sight,
""Twas said that far through the forest wild,
Was a land whose rivers and darkening caves
Then my first-born turned from the oaken door-
"Another went forth on the foaming wave,
But his feet grew cold-so weary and cold-
And this nook, in its emptiness, seemeth to me
"Two others have gone toward the setting sun, And made them a home in its light,
And fairy fingers have taken their share
To mend by the fire-side bright;
Some other basket their garments will fill-
Another-the dearest, the fairest, the best-
And clad in a garment that waxeth not old,
Oh! wonder no more at the dimmed eye-light,
When I mend the one pair of stockings to-night."