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AMERICA, 1809-1865


Speech at the Dedication of the National
Cemetery at Gettysburg

November 15, 1863

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 5 nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting 10 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 15 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 20

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 5 that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.


SCOTLAND, 1850-1899

At Morning

The day returns and brings us the petty round of 10 irritating concerns and duties. Help us to play the man, help us to perform them with laughter and kind faces, let cheerfulness abound with industry, give us to go blithely on our business all this day, bring us to our resting beds weary and content and undis15 honored, and grant us in the end the gift of sleep.



Geoffrey Chaucer, the father of English poetry, was born in London in 1340. The colleges of Oxford and Cambridge both claim him as a student. He enjoyed the favor of King Edward the Third, and passed much of his time at court. In 1386 he was made a knight, and during the latter part of his life he received an annual pension. He died in 1400. His writings are in a language so different from modern English that many persons cannot enjoy their beauties. His principal poems are 66 Canterbury Tales," "The Legend of Good Women," "The Court of Love," and "Troilus and Cressida."

Edmund Spenser was born in London about 1553. He was graduated at Cambridge in 1576, and soon after wrote "The Shepherd's Calendar." Sir Philip Sidney and Sir Walter Raleigh were his friends and patrons. In 1598 Spenser was appointed a sheriff in Ireland, and not long afterward in a rebellion his property was destroyed and his child killed. He did not long survive this calamity. His best-known poem is "The Faery Queen."

The reign of Queen Elizabeth is often called the Golden Age of English literature. Not only did Spenser and Shakespeare live then, but a large number of minor poets also rendered the period illustrious. Among the dramatic poets Christopher Marlowe, Beaumont and Fletcher, who wrote together, and Ben Jonson hold an honorable position. The most noted lyric poets of the day were George Herbert, Sir Walter Raleigh, and Sir Philip Sidney.


William Shakespeare, the greatest of English poets, was born at Stratford-on-Avon in April, 1564. He is supposed to have been educated at the free school of Stratford. When he was about twenty-two, he went to London, and after a hard struggle with poverty, he became first an actor, then a successful playwright and theater manager. Having gained not only fame but a modest fortune, he retired in 1611 to live at ease in Stratford until his death in 1616. Besides the two long poems, "Venus and Adonis " and "Lucrece," which first won popularity for him, he has written thirty-seven plays, ranging from the lightest comedy, through romance and historical narrative, to the darkest tragedy. Whatever form his verse takes, sonnet, song, or dramatic poetry, it shows the touch of the master hand, the inspiration of the master mind. Of his plays those which are still most frequently acted are the tragedies" Hamlet," " Macbeth," "King Lear," and "Othello," the comedies "Midsummer-night's Dream," "The Merchant of Venice," "As You Like It," and "The Comedy of Errors," and the historical plays "Julius Cæsar," "King Henry IV," "King Henry V," and "Richard III."

Ben Jonson was born at Westminster, England, about 1573. He was the friend of Shakespeare and a famous dramatist in his day, but his plays no longer hold the stage. His best play is "Every Man in his Humour." His songs and short poems are beautiful. He died in 1637. His tomb in Westminster Abbey is inscribed “O Rare Ben Jonson!"

George Herbert was born in Montgomery Castle, Wales, April 3, 1593. He was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge. Later he studied for the ministry and was appointed vicar of Bremerton. His "Sacred Poems" are noted for their purity and beauty of sentiment. He died in 1633.

John Milton was born in London, December 9, 1608. He was educated at Christ's College, Cambridge. Later he spent a year in travel, meeting the great Galileo while in Italy. He was an ardent advocate of freedom, and under the Protectorate he was the secretary of the Protector, Oliver Cromwell. When only


forty-six, he became totally blind, yet his greatest work was done after this misfortune overtook him. As a poet he stands second only to Shakespeare. His early poems, "Comus," L'Allegro," "Il Penseroso," and "Lycidas," are very beautiful, and his "Paradise Lost" is the finest epic poem in the English language. He died in 1674.


The minor poets of the age of Milton were Edmund Waller, Robert Herrick, George Wither, Sir John Suckling, and Sir Richard Lovelace.

John Dryden was born August 9, 1631. He was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge. His poem in honor of the restoration of Charles II won him the position of Poet Laureate. His bestknown works are the poetic "Translation of Virgil's Æneid," "Alexander's Feast," "The Hind and the Panther," and the drama "The Indian Emperor." He died in 1700.

The reign of Queen Anne was rendered brilliant by the writings of Alexander Pope, Joseph Addison, Edward Young, James Thompson, William Collins, Sir Richard Steele, Jonathan Swift, and Daniel Defoe. Not only were the poems of this period beautiful, but prose also reached a high development.

Joseph Addison was born at Milston, England, May 1, 1672. He completed his education at Queen's and Magdalen colleges, Oxford. He entered the diplomatic service and rose steadily, becoming one of the two principal secretaries of state two years before his death. He attained a higher political position than any other writer has ever achieved through his literary ability. With Steele he published The Tatler, and later The Spectator, at first a daily paper and afterward a tri-weekly one. He was a master of English prose, and his poems are elevated and serious in style. He died in 1719.

Isaac Watts was born at Southampton, July 17, 1674. He studied for the ministry. He wrote nearly five hundred hymns besides his "Divine and Moral Songs for Children." Many of his hymns are still favorites. He died in 1748.

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