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The Nation is Weeping

The Nation is Weeping

Publisher: J. Wrigley, New York

Medium: Print On Paper

Shelfmark: RB 23 b 7019 (0252)

Scale: Millimetres

Genre: Printed Music

Composer: Stephen Foster

Lyricist: Louise S. Upham

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The Nation is Weeping is one of Louise Upham’s more notable Lincoln poems and several copies of the song version were produced after the President’s death, with one even having a sketch of his funeral cortege above the text. The image here shows a plain tomb, more simple that the grand mausoleum that was completed in 1874 at the President’s burial site in Springfield, Illinois.

As with the previous song, the lyrics make reference to Lincoln’s martyrdom, as well as expressing the deep loss America felt at his passing. The flag itself has lost its sheen, 'its Star are dim' and Columbia, the mythical embodiment of America, joins the nation in shedding 'bitter...tears'. Lincoln himself now also seems to embody the nation, wrapped and laid 'under the loved Flag' and crowned in God’s glory.

Upham’s words were set to an 1860 song called Under the Willow She’s Sleeping, which tells the story of a mother mourning the death of his child. It was written by the famous American songwriter Stephen Foster, who also wrote the still popular Camptown Races, Swanee River and Beautiful Dreamer.

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