Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.
Archibald MacLeish (18921982)
Within that door A man sits or the image of a man Staring at stillness on a marble floor. No drum distracts him nor no trumpet can Although he hears the trumpet and the drum. He listens for the time to come. Within this door A man sits or the image of a man Remembering the time before. He hears beneath the river in its choking channel A deeper river rushing on the stone, Sits there in his doubt alone, Discerns the Principle, The guns begin, Emancipatesbut not the slaves, The Unionnot from servitude but shame: Emancipates the Union from the monstrous name Whose infamy dishonored Even the great Founders in their graves
He saves the Union and the dream goes on.
ARCHIBALD MACLEISH, At the Lincoln Memorial, stanza 4, lines 16, and stanza 5, New & Collected Poems, 19171976, pp. 43335 (1976).
This poem was written for ceremonies marking the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation and was read by MacLeish at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C., September 22, 1962.