LONGFELLOW, HENRY WADSWORTH. 1807-1882. Autograph Manuscript Signed ("Henry W. Longfellow") the full text of "The Ship of State" beginning "Thou, too, sail on, O Ship of State,"

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Lot 36
LONGFELLOW, HENRY WADSWORTH. 1807-1882.
Autograph Manuscript Signed ("Henry W. Longfellow") the full text of "The Ship of State" beginning "Thou, too, sail on, O Ship of State,"

Sold for US$ 10,075 inc. premium
LONGFELLOW, HENRY WADSWORTH. 1807-1882.
Autograph Manuscript Signed ("Henry W. Longfellow") the full text of "The Ship of State" beginning "Thou, too, sail on, O Ship of State," 2 pp (rectos only), 8vo (220 x 180 mm, conjoining leaves), Cambridge, May 2, 1877, paper blindstamped in the upper corner of first leaf "DELARUE/ & CO/ LONDON," old folds, with two closed tears at the foremargin, minor soiling to outer margin.
Provenance: Williams School; by descent to present owner.

FAIR COPY OF LONGFELLOW'S MOST REMEMBERED POEM, QUOTED BY STATESMEN FROM LINCOLN TO ROOSEVELT AND CHURCHILL. Originally appearing in 1850 as the final lines of "The Building of the Ship," these lines were a sensational success in the tumultuous years leading up to the Civil War, recited by schoolchildren in Faneuil Hall as "Ode to the Union," performed by Fanny Kemble, "trembling, palpitating and weeping, and famously bringing Abraham Lincoln to tears. Carl Sandburg in Lincoln: The War Years describes Lincoln's reading of the first two lines, early in the war: "Nicolay was surprised at the way these lines hit the President. He seemed to be reading them for the first time. Nicolay had memorized the piece at school he recited it for Lincoln to the last lines: 'Our hearts, our hopes, our prayers, our tears, Our faith triumphant o'er our fears.' They stirred something deep in Lincoln. 'His eyes filled with tears, and his cheeks were wet,' said Nicolay. 'He did not speak for some minutes, but finally said with simplicity: 'It is a wonderful gift to be able to stir men like that'" (vol 2, p 313).

Many years later the poem would again memorably surface in a vital moment in American politics: Franklin Roosevelt, as the second World War rumbled in Europe and Britain, quoted its beginning to Winston Churchill, with the note, "I think this verse applies to you people as it does to us." Churchill was moved by the quote, and immediately incorporated into an address to the British people on the BBC, quoting Roosevelt's handwritten note, and continuing: "What is the answer that I shall give, in your name, to this great man, the thrice-chosen head of a nation of a hundred and thirty millions? Here is the answer which I will give to President Roosevelt: Put your confidence in us. Give us your faith and your blessing, and, under Providence, all will be well. We shall not fail or falter; we shall not weaken or tire. Neither the sudden shock of battle, nor the long-drawn trials of vigilance and exertion will wear us down. Give us the tools, and we will finish the job." Churchill went on to have the verse printed, and circulated copies of the broadside at the Atlantic Conference of 1941.

Autograph manuscripts of "The Ship of State" are rare, with two examples noted in rarebookhub and ABPC; the original drafts and printer's manuscript are now at Harvard.

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LONGFELLOW, HENRY WADSWORTH. 1807-1882. Autograph Manuscript Signed ("Henry W. Longfellow") the full text of "The Ship of State" beginning "Thou, too, sail on, O Ship of State,"
LONGFELLOW, HENRY WADSWORTH. 1807-1882. Autograph Manuscript Signed ("Henry W. Longfellow") the full text of "The Ship of State" beginning "Thou, too, sail on, O Ship of State,"
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