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end of his schooling he used Lindley Murray's "English Reader," with its choice collection of prose and verse; for he told Herndon that he considered that volume the best schoolbook ever put into the hands of American youth. That opinion was justified. It was a great book.

At New Salem, Lincoln read law, and had his introduction to natural history, and to scientific subjects. Herndon relates that he read Rollin's Ancient History and Gibbon's Rome, but that he did not greatly enjoy history. I have several volumes once owned by him, and bearing the firm name of Lincoln and Herndon in his writing, one of them being "Ancient and Modern History" by J. E. Worcester.

Biography interested him, but he did not like to have men over-praised. In 1856 Herndon purchased a "Life of Burke." It may have been Sir James Prior's "Life," the fifth edition of which had just been published by Bohn; but Prof. Daniel Kilham Dodge, whose booklet on the evolution of Lincoln's literary style is of great value, opines that it was P. Burke's "Life of Burke," which was published in 1851, and which the Dictionary of National Biography characterizes as "utterly valueless."

Lincoln so regarded it. Herndon tells of it thus:

"In 1856 I purchased in New York a Life of Edmund Burke. I have forgotten who the author was. One morning Lincoln came into the office, and, seeing the book in my hands, enquired what I was reading. Taking it in his hands, he threw himself down on the office sofa, and hastily ran over its pages, reading a little here and there. At last he closed and threw it on the table with the exclamation, 'No, I've read enough of it. It's like all the others. Biographies as generally written are not only misleading, but false. The author of this Life of Burke makes a wonderful hero of his subject. He magnifies his perfections, if he had any, and suppresses his imperfections. He is so faithful in his zeal and so lavish in praise of his every act that one is almost driven to believe that Burke never made a mistake or a failure in his life. History is not history unless it is the truth."

It would appear that Lincoln was not interested in biography which was indiscriminate eulogy; but that he cared to read the lives of eminent men is certain. In his boyhood he appears to have read Weems' Life of Marion as well as that of Washington, and also to have

read Franklin's Autobiography, and later the life of Henry Clay. He did not, however, read in his early years that Who's Who of classic heroes, Plutarch's Lives. We are certain of this, because when John Locke Scripps wrote the first biography of Lincoln, he stated that this was among the books which Lincoln had read. Lincoln told him that this statement was not true when it was written, but that it was true before the book was published; for he procured Plutarch and read his great work in order that Mr. Scripps' book might be true in every detail.

As to the list of books which Lincoln read while still a lad in Indiana, the statement which he made to Leonard Swett is probably no great exaggeration, that he borrowed and read every book he could learn about within a circuit of fifty miles. Among those borrowed volumes was a copy of the Revised Statutes of Indiana, the beginning of his reading of law.

As for fiction, he read almost none of it. A certain Mrs. Lee Hentz had a passing vogue as a writer of fiction when he was a young man, and he liked her stories. He did not care for long stories; he preferred those that could be read easily at a sitting. He once tried to read

Ivanhoe, but did not finish it; and he never read either Dickens or Bulwer. He said to Frank B. Carpenter, "It may seem strange to say, but I never read an entire novel in my life." However, he dipped into several of them, and had some general knowledge of some of the chief authors of English fiction.

While he was at New Salem, he read poetry, and liked it. There he learned to admire Shakespeare and Byron and Burns. He could not sing, but he had an ear for rhythm, and more than once essayed to write in verse. In 1844 he returned to Indiana, which he had not revisited since his boyhood, and made several speeches in favor of Henry Clay. More than a year later, on April 18, 1846, he sent to a friend some lines which that visit evoked, beginning:

"My childhood's home I see again,

And sadden with the view;

And still, as memory crowds my brain,
There's pleasure in it, too."

There were ten stanzas, to which he added, a few months later, eleven others, suggested by the same visit, and by the pathetic sight of a boyhood friend who had lost his mind and become violently insane. These twenty-one stanzas are

preserved. They have no great literary merit, but show that he had a good sense of rhythm, and some poetic gift of imagery. He had read poetry enough to know what poetry was or should be. His taste in poetry, however, never was exalted. He preferred poems whose meter made it easy to remember them, and he had a remarkably good memory; and sad poems were more to his liking than those that were gay. In his boyhood he wrote backwoods jingles, and sang in mournful cadence "How tedious and tasteless the hours." In early manhood he committed to memory and retained through life as his favorite poem that mournful homily, "Oh, why should the spirit of mortal be proud?"

The dactylic meter belongs to subjects light and gay, though classic poetry used it in the heroic hexameter; but the backwoods found means of compelling it to go sadly, as in the hymn and poem of which we are speaking, as if to constrain the waltz to clothe itself in a shroud. Lincoln liked poems which moved mournfully in triple time. Of contemporary poets he knew something of Longfellow and Whittier, though he is not known to have quoted the latter, and he greatly admired "The Last

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