1886 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Knox

Samuel Willoughby Duffield, in English Hymns (1886) 11; Moulton, Library of Literary Criticism (1901-05) 5:31.



His Lonely Hearth, Songs of Israel, and Harp of Zion, displayed a talent which years afterward attracted the attention of Abraham Lincoln to what is now, through his commendation, a poem of classic excellence. In 1864, during the month of March, the artist Carpenter and the sculptor Swayne were both in Washington. The sculptor was working on a bust of Mr. Lincoln in a temporary studio in the Treasury Building. The President asked Mr. Carpenter to accompany him thither, and there, referring again to this poem by Knox, he was delighted to find that Mr. Swayne possessed a copy of the verses in print, which he had cut, several years before, from a Philadelphia paper. They had been originally given to Mr. Lincoln by a young man named Jason Duncan, and the President had recently written them from memory for the wife of Secretary Stanton, saying that he had often tried to discover the author, but in vain. Subsequently the publication of the stanzas in the New York Evening Post secured the identification of the poem with the name of William Knox.