Ann’s sickness, grave upon her face,
her frame in shadow of youth she’d been
before the gray and clotted waste
of broken dreams and lies let in…
Tho’ his love of her was true,
‘twas not enough to save
her punished heart within the gloom
left by another lover’s wave.
Yet the young man Abe, loved with his all,
through youth and love’s distractions,
so stood by Ann, her friend, quite tall
in depth of love and heart’s compassion.
She knew her love for Abe would grow
to be more than a friendship’s fodder,
that through his rugged awkwardness,
his tender heart would be his offer,
with hopes to spend eternity,
Ann Rutledge by his side,
yet New Salem’s sweetest daughter,
would not again beside him ride.
Thus, through those hours in quiet loft
the world reduced to one cabin’s space,
did span a lifetime’s ocean spent
and mark the truth upon his face.
Anon the world was witness
to the hours spent in precious loft,
just Abe and Ann and God himself,
between the three, conversations soft…
Yet when the hours drew near the line
where words are few and tears sublime,
through fateful touch and kiss goodbye,
forged from God, a quickened son…
By descent through stairs in cabin’s hold
did cast the youth in to the man,
that stood in history, that stood as one,
the reflective soul of Abraham Lincoln….
January 17th 1813 – August 25th, 1835, Ann Rutledge passed away at the age of 22
on her tombstone…
“Out of me unworthy and unknown
The vibrations of deathless music!
‘With malice toward none, with charity for all’.
Out of me the forgiveness of millions toward millions,
And the beneficent face of a nation
Shining with justice and truth.
I am Ann Rutledge who sleep beneath these weeds,
Beloved (in life) of Abraham Lincoln,
Wedded to him, not through union,
But through separation.
Bloom forever, O Republic,
From the dust of my bosom!”
— Edgar Lee Masters