Veckans tal: Lincoln vid Gettysburg

Lincoln vid GettysburgDet tal jag uppmärksammade förra veckan, Martin Luther King, Jr.:s “I Have a Dream”-tal, knöt ju an till en amerikansk retorisk tradition representerad av bland andra Abraham Lincoln. Det faller sig därför ganska naturligt att denna veckas tal blir just Lincolns välkända tal på soldatkyrkogården i Gettysburg den 19 november 1863.

Talets inledningsrader har gått till såväl den amerikanska historien som 1800-talets retorikhistoria:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Det är också på ovan citerade rader som Martin Luther King anspelar när han inleder sitt tidigare nämnda tal med en direkt referens till Lincoln: “Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation.”

Lincolns tal är kort. På blott ett par minuter långt hyllar han de fallna i inbördeskriget och de ideal för vilka de dog – ideal som det nu ankommer på de levande att förvalta. I sin helhet lyder talet som följer:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Bliss-utkastet, sida 1Ovanstående är återgivet efter den vanligast refererade versionen av talet, det så kallade Bliss-utkastet. Detta finns att beskåda i digital form på The Papers of Abraham Lincoln: (sida 1) (sida 2) (sida 3).

Som kuriosa kan också nämnas att American Rhetoric erbjuder en MP3-fil där Johnny Cash läser Lincolns Gettysburgtal.

Se också…
mitt tidigare blogginlägg om vältalaren Lincoln och skolboken The Columbian Orator, som skall ha varit en viktig inspirationskälla för den blivande presidenten.

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