"Now he belongs to the ages/angels" (Stanton on Lincoln, in The New Yorker)

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun May 27 03:59:27 UTC 2007

At 10:49 PM -0400 5/26/07, sagehen wrote:
>  >Did anyone see this? What do¬Ýour quotations masters say? Why weren't they
>>interviewed for this New Yorker story?
>>May 25, 2007
>>Ages Or Angels?
>>I've been working too hard to post as much as usual lately, but one of my
>>favorite bloggers did a post on Abraham Lincoln earlier today that I
>>thought was worth passing on. Here it is:
>>Adam Gopnik has a really interesting essay in this week's New Yorker on
>>Abraham Lincoln (which is, shockingly, available on-line). He begins with
>>the question of whether Edwin Stanton said, at Lincoln's deathbed, "Now he
>>belongs to the ages"--the version Gopnik remembered--or "Now he belongs to
>>the angels"--the version he came across in James Swanson's recent book
>>about the manhunt for John Wilkes Booth. He went on to read a bunch of
>>other stuff on Lincoln and reports on what he finds.
>>Washington Post, The¬Ý¬Ý
>>Now he belongs to the said Secretary Stanton, as Lincoln breathed his last
>>How hig
>>Monday, February 08, 1909¬ÝWashington, District Of Columbia¬Ý
>  ~~~~~~~~~~~
>Interesting question.
>Whatever Stanton may have said,  the "ages" version is the one that,
>itself, belongs to the ages.
>The rather pedestrian piety of the "angels" version might be an argument in
>its favor,  but it hardly puts it into the memorable & moving class.
And the results from traditional scholarship
bears this out:  the google count is 13,500 for
"the ages", 1,060 for "the angels", so the ages
have it.


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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