The Unconquered Air, and Other Poems (1912)/His Face

For other versions of this work, see His Face.


They tell you Lincoln was ungainly, plain?
To some he seemed so: true.
Yet in his look was charm to gain
E'en such as I, who knew
With how confirmed a will he tried
To overthrow a cause for which I would have died.

The sun may shine with naught to shroud
Its beam, yet show less bright
Than when from out eclipsing cloud
It pours its radiant light;
And Lincoln, seen amid the shows of war
Clothed in his sober black, was somehow felt the more

To be a centre and a soul of power,—
An influence benign
To kindle in a faithless hour
New trust in the divine.
Grave was his visage, but no cloud could dull
The radiance from within that made it beautiful.

A prisoner, when I saw him first—
Wounded and sick for home—
His presence soothed my yearning's thirst
While yet his lips were dumb;
For such compassion as his countenance wore
I had not seen nor felt in human face before.

And when, low-bending o'er his foe,
He took in his firm hand
My wasted one, I seemed to know
We two were of one Land;
And as my cheek flushed warm with young surprise,
God's pity looked on me from Lincoln's sorrowing eyes.

His prisoner I was from then—
Love makes surrender sure—
And though I saw him not again,
Some memories endure,
And I am glad my untaught worship knew
His the divinest face I ever looked into!