Longfellow poem used by Roosevelt and Churchill to rally against Hitler's agression

    Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Autograph Manuscript Poem Signed. "Thou, too, Sail on, O Ship of State!" One page, 7" x 8.75", n.d., n.p. In full:
    Thou, too, Sail on, O Ship of State!
    Sail on, O Union Strong and great!
    Humanity, with all its fears,
    With all the hopes of future years,
    Is hanging breathless on thy fate!
    We know what Master laid thy heel,
    What workmen wrought thy miles of steel,
    Who made each mast, and sail, and rope,
    What anvils rang, what hammers beat,
    In what a forge and what a heat,
    Were shaped the anchors at thy hope!
    Fear not each, sudden sound, and Shock,
    'T is of the wave and not the rock,
    'T is but the flapping of the sail,
    And not a rent made by the gale!
    In Spite of rock and tempest's roar,
    In Spite of false lights on the Shore,
    Sail on, nor fear to breast the Sea!
    Our hearts, our hopes are all with thee,
    Our hearts, our hopes, our prayers, our tears,
    Our faith triumphant o'er our fears,
    Are all with thee, - are all with thee!"

    The final two lines of the poem are written vertically in the left margin, while "Henry W. Longfellow" is signed vertically in the right margin. Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's (1807-1882) poem was published in 1850. It was a favorite of Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt, who in January 1941, wrote the first five lines of this poem from memory on a piece of paper, signed his name, and then sent the paper to British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who was leading Great Britain against Hitler's aggression. Churchill used Roosevelt's note containing Longfellow's poem in a February 9 radio address, to assure the United States that the British would struggle against Hitler, but still needed America's help. "What is the answer that I shall give, in your name, to this great man, the thrice-chosen head of a nation of a hundred and thirty millions?" Churchill asked his audience. "Here is the answer which I will give to President Roosevelt: Put your confidence in us. Give us your faith and your blessing, and, under Providence, all will be well. . . . Give us the tools, and we will finish the job." (Richard Langworth, Churchill by Himself: The Definitive Collection of Quotations. PublicAffairs, 2008.) This letter has smoothed folds and a very small amount of paper loss in the bottom right corner, due to past mounting. The ink has faded in certain areas (mostly in the center, the top left, and bottom right). Some mounting residue on verso. Fine condition.

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    Auction Dates
    October, 2009
    16th-17th Friday-Saturday
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