Nancy Hanks

(1941)

"Nancy Hanks" is a song with music by Katherine Kennicott Davis and poetry by Rosemary Benét. The song is about Abraham Lincoln's mother and was published in 1941.

The poem was first published in Benét's 1933 volume A Book of Americans.

Nancy Hanks
by Rosemary Benét


If Nancy Hanks
Came back as a ghost,
Seeking news
Of what she loved most,
She'd ask first
"Where's my son?
What's happened to Abe?
What's he done?"


"Poor little Abe,
Left all alone
Except for Tom,
Who's a rolling stone;
He was only nine
The year I died.
I remember still
How hard he cried."


"Scraping along
In a little shack,
With hardly a shirt
To cover his back,
And a prairie wind
To blow him down,
Or pinching times
If he went to town."


"You wouldn't know
About my son?
Did he grow tall?
Did he have fun?
Did he learn to read?
Did he get to town?
Do you know his name?
Did he get on?"


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