Wednesday, August 19, 2009

"The Other Gettysburg Address on November 19, 1863"

The first Gettsyburg Address preceded President Lincoln's by about two hours. Delivered by Former Secretary of State Edward Everett, the first oration on that day lasted 2 hours, as opposed to Lincoln's 3-minute address. Everett, a distinguished Boston orator in the tradition of Daniel Webster, opened with these words:

Standing beneath this serene sky, overlooking these broad fields now reposing from the labors of the waning year, the mighty Alleghenies dimly towering before us, the graves of our brethren beneath our feet, it is with hesitation that I raise my poor voice to break the eloquent silence of God and Nature. But the duty to which you have called me must be perfomed; grant me, I pray you, your indulgence and your sympathy.

Everett's 13,607-word speech is quite a contrast to Lincoln's 272 words. A Mahler Symphony followed by a Chopin etude. Or a Dickens novel followed by an Emily Dickinson poem. What a juxtaposition of scale! But art assumes all sizes, and the two men, each in his own way, honored the fallen soldiers at Gettysburg with grace and humility.

The next day's correspondence between the two men began with Everett praising Lincoln's brevity, to which Lincoln replied: "I am pleased to know that, in your judgment, the little I did say was not entirely a failure."

I'm trying to remember the last time I heard today's crop of politicians speak with such humility and elegance.

We have new followers to this blog - welcome all! A few of you have asked about "272 Words" -- will there be a chart? The sampler is still a work in progress and I'll post the answer here by mid-September. I'd like to make the decision after the piece is framed. Your inquiries and kind words have inspired beyond measure.

Back to the matter at hand . . . the sampler is on its way to the framer, and, for the first time in my stitching life -- I hated parting with the linen! Usually there's a happy dance, but not this time. That piece of linen has been a part of my daily life for months. No more tweaks or color changes. No more frogging, reconfiguring, re-stitching. It's time to let go.

Anyone interested in stitching the first Gettysburg Address -- Mr. Everett's -- on linen? It's a mere 13,607 words. :)

I'm taking a couple days' break from stitching, starting tonight . . . can you hear the Apple Martini being made? I hope you'll indulge in a cool drink as well . . .

Cheers, see you in a few days!


  1. Drink up certainly deserve it!!

    What an accomplishment, and the piece is truly beautiful as well as reverent to a great man!

    Enjoy your down time!!


  2. Perhaps you could tell us what's involved in the framing at some point, whether it's the same as framing other artworks or involves special considerations. I'd be curious to know.