The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

Before and After #140: Abraham Lincoln



(fourscore thanks to Tommie Hicks for these images)


swac said...

I wonder how old Abe is in that first shot?

He never really did look young, did he?

Brent McKee said...

You might think so, but in trying to find his age in this photo I found what is described as the earliest photo of Lincoln here:

If indeed it is Lincoln, it's a rather fascinating transfromation between the early 1840s and 1861.

swac said...

Wow, hadn't seen that image before. There seem to be lingering doubts about its authenticity, but there are some corresponding features with the previous earliest known photo contender, especially in the ears. Plus the eyes are so similar between the younger and older photos in that first link that it's easy to see how a connection could be made.

swac said...

Oops, that link screwed up, here's the other earliest known photo, also sans beard.

swac said...

Here you can see the three portraits side by side.

homesteader said...

The earlier image here was dated as 1858 because it was documented that Lincoln sent it to a friend that year, however, I feel certain that it is an ambrotype copy of an earlier daguerreotype from the mid 1840's. This was a common practice at the time as Lincoln was a corporation lawyer for the Illinois Central RR and quite busy.
The after picture is the last known photographic image of Lincoln from March of 1865. He looks peeved because the photographer walked up to the unprotected Lincoln on the South Portico of the White House and demanded a photo, hence the pained expression.
The photo shown on the link provided in the comments section is definately not Lincoln, but a man from the northeast because the casing of the photograph was not available in the mid-west in the 1840's. The owner has been trying to seel it for years with no takers.