By Richard Lawrence Miller

In William Herndon’s Life of Lincoln, ghostwriter Jesse Weik has Herndon say that Abraham Lincoln wrote “a few lines under the gloomy title of ‘Suicide’” at around the time of the depression Lincoln suffered in 1841 after breaking his engagement with Mary Todd and learning that his best friend Joshua Speed was moving back to Kentucky. According to the recollection attributed to Herndon, the poem was published in the Sangamo Journal, but in the newspaper’s files the poem later had been clipped from the issue containing it: “I have always supposed it was done by Lincoln or by some one at his instigation.”

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