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shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan-to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves, and with all nations.
As the great musician brings somewhere to its highest expression the motive which has been entwined from first to last in his music-drama, so did the expression of Lincoln's passion for his country reach its culmination in the tender and majestic phrases of the Gettysburg Address:
In a larger sense, we cannot dedicate
cannot consecratecannot hallow-this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor 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 which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. 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 that 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 this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of free. dom; and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
But there is a letter of Lincoln's which may well be associated with the Gettysburg Address. It was written, just one year after the delivery of the Address, to a mother who, the President heard, had lost five sons in the army.
I believe the
number was not so large, though that does not matter.
November 21, 1864. Mrs. Bixby, Boston, Massachusetts.
DEAR MADAM: I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the AdjutantGeneral of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save.
I pray that our heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have
laid so costly a sacrifice upon the
This letter of consolation in its simplicity and fitness again recalls the Greek spirit. It is like one of those calm monuments of grief which the traveler may still behold in that small cemetery under the deep Athenian sky, where those who have been dead so many centuries are kept alive in the memories of men by an art which is immortal.