the unfinished work

by Joseph Fulford Folsom

The crowd was gone, and to the side
        Of Borglum’s Lincoln, deep in awe,
I crept. It seem’d a mighty tide
        Within those aching eyes I saw.

“Great heart,” I said, “why grieve alway?
        The battle’s ended, and the shout
Shall ring forever and a day,—
        Why sorrow yet, or darkly doubt?”

“Freedom,” I plead, “so nobly won
        For all mankind, and equal right,
Shall with the ages travel on
        Till time shall cease, and day be night.”

No answer—then; but up the slope,
        With broken gait, and hands in clench,
A toiler came, bereft of hope,
        And sank beside him on the bench.

Image: The Star-Ledger
Image: Newark Public Library via The Star-Ledger

Joseph Fulford Folsom was a Presbyterian pastor and local historian, as well as a poet. He wrote a regular column on historical matters for the Newark Evening News, signing himself The Lorist. His poem on the Lincoln statue was included in the 1912 volume The Newark Lincoln.

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