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Three verses get the bear running, nine verses have the bear chased, four have him fighting and dying, then six verses draw a moral and lesson. The piece read:

A wild bear chase didst never see?
Then hast thou lived in vain-
Thy richest bump of glorious glee
Lies desert in thy brain.

When first my father settled here,
'Twas then the frontier line;

The panther's scream filled night with fear
And bears preyed on the swine.

But woe for bruin's short-lived fun
When rose the squealing cry;
Now man and horse, with dog and gun
For vengeance at him fly.

A sound of danger strikes his ear;
He gives the breeze a snuff;
Away he bounds, with little fear,
And seeks the tangled rough.

On press his foes, and reach the ground
Where's left his half-munched meal;
The dogs, in circles, scent around
And find his fresh made trail.

With instant cry, away they dash,
And men as fast pursue;

O'er logs they leap, through water splash
And shout the brisk halloo.

Now to elude the eager pack

Bear shuns the open ground,

Through matted vines he shapes his track,
And runs it, round and round.

The tall, fleet cur, with deep-mouthed voice
Now speeds him, as the wind;

While half-grown pup, and short-legged fice
Are yelping far behind.


And fresh recruits are dropping in

To join the merry corps;

With yelp and yell, a mingled din―

The woods are in a roar

And round, and round the chase now goes,
The world's alive with fun;

Nick Carter's horse his rider throws,
And Mose Hills drops his gun.

Now, sorely pressed, bear glances back,
And lolls his tired tongue,

When as, to force him from his track
An ambush on him sprung.

Across the glade he sweeps for flight,

And fully is in view

The dogs, new fired by the sight
Their cry and speed renew.

The foremost ones now reach his rear;
He turns, they dash away,
And circling now the wrathful bear
They have him full at bay.

At top of speed the horsemen come,
All screaming in a row-

'Whoop!' 'Take him, Tiger!' 'Seize him, Drum!'
Bang-bang! the rifles go!

And furious now, the dogs he tears,

And crushes in his ire

Wheels right and left, and upward rears,

With eyes of burning fire.

But leaden death is at his heart-
Vain all the strength he plies,
And, spouting blood from every part,
He reels, and sinks, and dies!

And now a dinsome clamor rose,-
'But who should have his skin?'

Who first draws blood, each hunter knows
This prize must always win.


But, who did this, and how to trace
What's true from what's a lie,-
Like lawyers in a murder case
They stoutly argufy.

Aforesaid fice, of blustering mood,
Behind, and quite forgot,
Just now emerging from the wood
Arrives upon the spot,

With grinning teeth, and up-turned hair
Brim full of spunk and wrath,
He growls, and seizes on dead bear
And shakes for life and death-

And swells, as if his skin would tear,
And growls, and shakes again,
And swears, as plain as dog can swear
That he has won the skin!

Conceited whelp! we laugh at thee,
Nor mind that not a few

Of pompous, two-legged dogs there be
Conceited quite as you.

And from then on there seemed to be no more exercises of this kind. Lincoln quit his doggerel habit, writing to Johnston: "I am not at all displeased with your proposal to publish the poetry, or doggerel, or whatever else it may be called, which I sent you. I consent that it may be done. Whether the prefatory remarks in my letter shall be published with the verses, I leave entirely to your discretion; but let names be suppressed by all means. I have not sufficient hope of the verses attracting any favorable notice to tempt me to risk being ridiculed for having written them."

The mood of melancholy running through his verses could drop off him like a cloak, while he lighted with a quizzical look on his face. When his children were born, he chuckled. Even before the first one was born, in the months when the stork was promising to come, he joked Speed about the glad event coming.



A wild. hear chace, didst never

Then hast thon fined in rain

Thy pichest Camp of glosions glee,
Lies desent in thy braind

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And, sponting blover from every part,
We reels, and sinks, and dies-

And now a dinsonw clamor rose,
Don't who should have his akin;
Who first draws blood, each hunter knows,
This proge must always

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"They stortly arguify

Lincoln writes doggerel, "The Bear Hunt."

From the original manuscript.

Speed first heard of the coming event from Bill Butler and so wrote Lincoln, who replied: "In relation to the 'coming events' about which Butler wrote you, I had not heard one word before I got your letter; but I have so much confidence in the judgment of a Butler on such a subject that I incline to think there may be some reality in it. What day does Butler appoint?” And he countered: "By the way, how do 'events' of the same sort come on in your family? Are you possessing houses and lands, and oxen and asses, and menservants and maidservants, and begetting sons and daughters?" And he closed with, "Mary joins in sending love to your Fanny and you.”

When the second boy came, he sketched the two of them and the family life for Speed. "We have another boy. He is very much such a child as Bob was at his age, rather of a longer order. Bob is 'short and low,' and I expect always will be. He talks very plainly,—almost as plainly as anybody. He is quite smart enough. I sometimes fear that he is one of the little rare-ripe sort that are smarter at about five years than ever after. He has a great deal of that sort of mischief that is the offspring of such animal spirits. Since I began this letter, a messenger came to tell me Bob was lost; but by the time I reached the house his mother had found him, and had whipped him, and by now, very likely, he is run away again. Mary has read your letter, and wishes to be remembered to Mrs. Speed and you, in which I most sincerely join her."

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Chapter 65

LINCOLN and his law-partner, Stephen T. Logan, both had hopes of going to Congress; they didn't get along smoothly. Lincoln had left the partnership with regrets, for Logan was one of the foremost lawyers of the state and well started on a paying business. Logan had come to Illinois from Kentucky, a short sliver of a man, with a wrinkled, pinched face and tight lips. His head carried a thicket of frowsy hair, his voice rasped-yet he com

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