This Dust Was Once the Man

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"This Dust Was Once the Man" is an elegy poem by Walt Whitman in 1871. The poem is dedicated to Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States. The poem was written six years after Lincoln's assassination. Whitman had written three previous poems about Lincoln, all in 1865: "O Captain! My Captain!", "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd", and "Hush'd Be the Camps To-Day."

This Dust Was Once the Man was included in Book XXII of Whitman's Leaves of Grass.[1]

The poem served as the setting for two choral works of Jeffrey Hoover.[2]


This dust was once the man,
Gentle, plain, just and

under whose cautious hand,
Against the foulest crime in history known in any land or age,
Was saved the Union of these States.[3]

See also[edit]