Hidden Springs, Delicate Wheels: The Bodyguard's Reminiscence

"The Consuls, too, must have their privacies---
"neither of scholars' note, nor documented:
"moments to spend exactly as they please
"(in joyous bliss or mournful reveries),
"not to be interrupted or prevented."
---Anonymous Epigram, "Instructions to Historians of The
Republic" translated by Nugator

(pen name of St Leger Landon Carter, 1785-1851)

in Southern Literary Prospects, January 7, 1835

 

". . . ingenium nobis ipsa puella fecit . . ."
---Propertius, The Elegies

 

One last time at the old home:  on the day
before he left, we helped him slip away
from all the turmoil of political
affairs.  He needed to refresh his soul
to start the second term right, as he said,
far from the clamor, there too plentiful.
Two bodyguards only for this:  we kept
watch as he eased out for an ordinary
ride in a buggy to some cemetery
down some lane.  He walked through the gate; dusk gave
last light as he paused beside one grave.
Then kneeling down, embracing it, he wept.
(I never saw such mourning for the dead
as he mourned then; oh, unforgettable!)
I saw the truth (that, now, no scholar can
diminish) of that sad, soon martyred, man
and (though long dead) his sole Beloved, Ann.

Author's Notes/Comments: 

The reader is referred to the appended notes to my poem, "At Mrs. Lincoln's Discomfort."

The epigram translated by Nugator, himself a most talented poet, does not appear in any classical anthology; and may possibly be a literary hoax of Nugator's own making.

The quotation from Propertius means:  "My genius is only a girl."  Following Edgar Lee Masters' earlier interpretation, I suggest that Ann Rutledge was presiding Muse of Lincoln's personal ethics and presidential achievements.

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