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WorksChoral MusicMen's ChorusAbraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight

Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight (men's chorus)

Voicing: TTBB chorus, piano, snare drum
            also available for: Tenor solo
Text: Vachel Lindsay
Duration: 5 min.
Commissioned by: MN-ACDA & MN Music Educators Association
Premiere: Aug 8, 2009, Moorhead, MN. Minnesota All-State Men's Chorus; David Mennicke, director
Published by: Abbie Betinis Music Co., AB-061-01
Score Sample: Click to view/download

Performed by the 2009-10 Minnesota All-State Men's Choir; David Mennicke, conductor (Minneapolis, MN).

Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight Poem by Vachel Lindsay (1879-1931), modified AB
IT is portentous, and a thing of state
That here at midnight, in our little town
A mourning figure walks, and will not rest,
Near the old court-house pacing up and down,

Or by his homestead, or in shadowed yards
He lingers where his children used to play,
Or through the market, on the well-worn stones
He stalks until the dawn-stars burn away.

A bronzed, lank man! His suit of ancient black,
A famous high top-hat and plain worn shawl [...]

He cannot sleep upon his hillside now.
He is among us: —as in times before!
And we who toss and lie awake for long,
Breathe deep, and start, to see him pass the door.

His head is bowed. He thinks of men and kings.
Yea, when the sick world cries, how can he sleep?
Too many fight, [...]
[Too many] weep.

The sins of war-lords burn his heart.
He sees the dreadnaughts scouring every main.
He carries on his shawl-wrapped shoulders now
The bitterness, the folly and the pain.

He cannot rest until a spirit-dawn
Shall come; —the shining hope of [people] free:
A league of sober folk, the Workers' Earth,
Bringing long peace to Cornland, Alp and Sea.

It breaks his heart that kings must murder still,
That all his hours of travail [...]
Seem yet in vain. And who will bring [sweet] peace
That he may sleep upon his hill again?

"Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight" by Vachel Lindsay, edited and modified by the composer. Public domain.