The Suicide’s Soliloquy
August 25, 1838, the Sangamo Journal, a Whig newspaper in Springfield, Illinois, carried an unsigned poem, thirty-six lines long. It stands out for two reasons: first, its subject is suicide; second, its author was most likely a twenty-nine-year-old politician and lawyer named Abraham Lincoln
. Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin
relates how historians regard a broken off engagement to Mary Todd
as the trigger to his famous depression
, but it was his perceived failure as politician, she maintains, that fed Lincoln's "black dog".
(For his depression, Lincoln probably took "blue mass"
, a drug prescribed to treat "hypochondriasis," a vague term that included melancholia
). Lincoln's medical history file is here
posted by matteo
on Jun 7, 2004 -