On a Portrait of Lincoln

By George Sterling

This is the patient face to which was given
A touch of the eternal. Here is housed
Pain that is question, question that is pain,
And on those shoulders, for our sake, was set
The Government. For he was of that line
Whose Age lays mighty hands upon its son
And leads him to its morning. From those eyes,
Steady with high solemnities of grief,—
Weary, undisillusioned and august,
Gazed hope, and charity, and faith in man.
No fugitive from bleak reality,
He faced his task, and made the honest light
Sufficient to his need, and that withdrawn,
He on the deepest midnight found a star.
Calm, tender, undismayed, out of such stuff
Was framed a nation's guide on wastes of war,
And on that brow, furrowed, invincible,
Were laid the old simplicities of strength.
Not twice, in many years, shall Time so grant
An Elder Brother such as he, who now,
In this presentment of a perished day,
Looks forth from deep and covenanting eyes,
As one that meets across the faithless years
The same world-sorrow in the gaze of Christ.

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