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 beneficient face of a nation
Shining with justice and truth.
I am Anne 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!

Analysis, meaning and summary of Edgar Lee Masters's poem Anne Rutledge

1 Comment

  1. julianne Hill says:

    I love this moving poem. We feel this humble lady, who’s mostly forgotten now, her love for Lincoln and his for her. Masters brings us an image that this crucial second chance for our nation, after such a tragic agonizing war, arises in part, from the ashes of their loss of one another, a true tragedy turned to something good. Putting aside the controversy over their love’s existence, and just allowing the spirit of this piece to take you, will make you misty eyed if you love the immortal ideas of ‘malice toward none, charity for all.’ To refer to this as deathless music is lovely and stirring, in connection with the lives of these two lovers, who knew the anguish of loss through death. We’d all love for that music to play on forever. He beautifully invokes the feelings that Abe surely felt, wishing for our wonderful nation, a rebirth without the stain of slavery, with folks forgiving and healing their wounds, so the nation/republic could survive. We don’t know Anne very well, as history and death obscurred her countenance, but he brings feeling and life to her, and gives us a glimpse of what she likely would have wished for and cared about. Thumbs up!

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