Welcome to THE MAKING OF A NATION – American history in VOA Special English. On April ninth, eighteen sixty-five, Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered his army to Union General Ulysses Grant. Within weeks, the Civil War would be over. When people in Washington learned of Lee's surrender, they hurried to the White House. The crowd wanted to hear from President Abraham Lincoln. The speech he gave would be one of his last, as Kay Gallant and Harry Monroe explain this week in our series. President Lincoln spoke several days after General Lee's surrender. The people expected a victory speech. But Lincoln gave them something else. Already, he was moving forward from victory to the difficult times ahead. The southern rebellion was over. Now, he faced the task of re-building the Union. Lincoln did not want to punish the South. He wanted to re-join the ties that the Civil War had broken. So, when the people of the North expected a speech of victory, he gave them a speech of reconstruction, instead.
On the night of April eleventh, Lincoln appeared before a crowd outside the White House. He held a candle in one hand and his speech in the other. "Fellow citizens," Lincoln said. "We meet this evening not in sorrow, but in gladness of heart. The surrender of the main army of the Confederacy gives hope of a righteous and speedy peace. The joy cannot be held back. By these recent successes, we have had pressed more closely upon us the question of reconstruction. "We all agree," Lincoln continued, "that the so-called seceded states are out of their correct relation with the Union. We also agree that what the government is trying to do is get these states back into their correct relation. "I believe it is not only possible, but in fact easier to do this without deciding the legal question of whether these states have ever been out of the Union. Finding themselves safely at home, it would be of no importance whether they had ever been away." There was cheering and applause when President Lincoln finished, but less than when he began. The speech had been too long and too detailed to please the crowd. Lincoln, however, believed it a success. He hoped he had made the country understand one thing: the great need to forget hatred and bitterness in the difficult time of re-building that would follow the war.
The president continued to discuss his ideas on reconstruction over the next few days. On Friday, April fourteenth, he agreed to put this work aside for a while. In the afternoon, he took his wife Mary for a long drive away from the city. In the evening, they would go to the theater. One of the popular plays of the time, called "Our American Cousin," was being performed at Ford's Theater, not far from the White House. The Secretary of War did not want the Lincolns to go alone. He ordered an army officer to go with them. The President and Misses Lincoln sat in special seats at Ford's Theater. The presidential box was above and to one side of the stage. A guard always stood outside the door to the box. On this night, however, the guard did not remain. He left the box unprotected. President Lincoln settled down in his seat to enjoy the play. As he did so, a man came to the door of the box. He carried a gun in one hand and a knife in the other. The man entered the presidential box quietly. He slowly raised the gun. He aimed it at the back of Lincoln's head. He fired. Then the man jumped from the box to the stage three meters below. Many in the theater recognized him. He was an actor: John Wilkes Booth.
Booth broke his leg when he hit the stage floor. But he pulled himself up, shouted "Sic semper tyrannis!" -- "Thus ever to tyrants!" -- and ran out the door. He got on a horse, and was gone. The attack was so quick that the audience did not know what had happened. Then a woman shouted, "The president has been shot!" Lincoln had fallen forward in his seat, unconscious. Someone asked if it was possible to move him to the White House. A young army doctor said no. The president's wound was terrible. He would die long before reaching the White House. So Lincoln was moved to a house across the street from Ford's Theater. A doctor tried to remove the bullet from the president's head. He could not. Nothing could be done, except wait. The end was only hours away. Cabinet members began to arrive, while wild reports spread through the city: the Confederates had declared war again! There was fighting in the streets! An official of the War Department described the situation. "The extent of the plot was unknown. From so horrible a beginning, what might come next. How far would the bloody work go. The safety of Washington must be looked after. The people must be told. The assassin and his helpers must be captured."
Early the next morning, April fifteenth, Abraham Lincoln died. A prayer was said over his body. His eyes were closed. The news went out by telegraph to cities and towns across the country. People read the words, but could not believe them. To millions of Americans, Abraham Lincoln's death was a personal loss. They had come to think of him as more than the President of the United States. He was a trusted friend. People hung black cloth on their doors in sorrow. Even the South mourned for Lincoln, its former enemy. Southern General Joe Johnston said: "Mr. Lincoln was the best friend we had. His death is the worst thing that could happen for the South." Messages of regret came from around the world. British labor groups said they could never forget the things Lincoln had said about working people. Things such as: "The strongest tie of human sympathy should be one uniting all working people of all nations and tongues."
A group representing hundreds of French students sent this message: "In President Lincoln we mourn a fellow citizen. There are no longer any countries shut up in narrow frontiers. Our country is everywhere where there are neither masters nor slaves. Wherever people live in liberty or fight for it. We look to the other side of the ocean to learn how a people which has known how to make itself free, knows how to preserve its freedom." The assassination of Abraham Lincoln touched the imagination of America's writers. Many tried to put their feelings into words. Walt Whitman wrote several poems of mourning. Here is part of one of them, "O Captain! My Captain!"
Here captain! Dear father!
This arm beneath your head!
It is some dream that on the deck,
You've fallen cold and dead.
My captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will.
The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
Exult o shores, and ring o bells!
But I with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.
1.hurry to 赶往；匆忙赶到
I can't hang about anymore because I hurry to go to work.
2.settle down 安下心来；平静下来
Please settle down so that we can get to work.
3.look after 照顾；照管
I just can't be bothered to look after the house.
4.shut up 关闭；停止
It's time to shut up shop and go home now.
参考译文欢迎收听VOA慢速英语之建国史话节目 。1865年4月9日，联盟国将军罗伯特·E·李向尤利西斯·格兰特将军投降 。几周之内，内战就要结束了 。当华盛顿的人们得知李将军投降后，他们就匆匆赶到白宫 。人群想听听总统亚伯拉罕·林肯的讲话 。正如凯·格兰特和哈里·门罗本周在我们的系列节目中所解释的那样，他发表这个演讲将是他最后一次演讲 。林肯总统在李将军投降后几天发表了讲话，人民期待着胜利的演讲 。但是，林肯却做了另一番讲话 。他已经从胜利迈向了前方所面对的困难时期 。南方叛乱结束了 。现在，他面临着重建联邦的任务 。林肯不想惩罚南方，他想重新联结因为内战被破坏的南北关系 。因此，当北方人民期待听到胜利的演讲时，他却给出了一个有关重建的演讲 。
4月11日晚上，林肯出现在白宫外的人群面前 。他一只手拿着蜡烛，另一只手拿着演讲稿 。 “同胞们，”林肯说 。“今天晚上我们见面不是沉浸在悲伤中，而是内心充满喜悦 。联盟国主力军的投降给了正义和迅速和平的希望 。人们难以抑制快乐之情，通过最近取得的成功，我们更加急迫地要询问有关重建的问题 。“我们都同意，”林肯继续说，“那些所谓的脱离联邦的州，没有与联邦维系正确的关系 。我们还同意，政府正在努力使这些州恢复与联邦之间的正确关系 。“我认为，这不仅是可能的，而且事实上，在不确定这些州是否曾经脱离联邦这一法律问题的情况下，这样做更加容易 。发现自己安全地呆在家里，不管他们是否曾经离开过，这都无关紧要 。”林肯总统结束演讲时，人群中爆发出欢呼和掌声，但比他开始演讲时持续的时间短 。他的演讲时间冗长，内容太过详细，无法取悦民众 。然而，林肯认为这此演讲是成功的 。他希望，国民能够明白一件事：在战后重建的艰难时期，非常需要人们忘记仇恨和痛苦 。
在接下来的几天里，总统继续讨论他关于重建的想法 。4月14日，星期五，他同意暂时搁置这项工作 。下午，他带着妻子玛丽驱车去到离城市很远的地方 。晚上，他们要去剧院 。当时最受欢迎的戏剧之一，名叫“我们的美国兄弟”，在离白宫不远的福特剧院上演 。作战部长不想林肯一家单独前往，他命令一名军官和他们一道去看戏 。林肯总统和林肯夫人在福特剧院的一个包厢里就坐，总统包厢在舞台上方的一侧 。一个警卫总是守护在厢门外 。然而，就在这天晚上，警卫却没在，包厢无人守护 。林肯总统在座位上坐下欣赏演出，这时，有个人走到厢门门口 。他一手拿着枪，另一手拿着刀 。这个人悄悄地走进总统包厢，慢慢地举起枪，把枪口对准林肯的后脑勺，然后开枪了 。然后，这个人从包厢跳到三米以下的舞台上 。剧院里的许多人认出了他，他是名演员，名叫约翰·威尔克斯·布斯 。
布斯摔到舞台地板上时摔断了腿 。但他站起来，高喊着“杀死暴君！”——“永远打倒专制的君主！”——然后跑出门外，他骑上一匹马跑了 。这次袭击如此之快，观众都不知道发生了什么 。随后有个女人喊道：“总统遭枪击了！”林肯总统倒在了他座位前面，不省人事 。有人问是否有可能把他搬回白宫 。一位年轻的军医拒绝了这种做法 。总统的伤势很严重，他会在到达白宫前就死去 。所以，人们把林肯搬到福特剧院对面的一所房子里 。一位医生试图把子弹从总统的头上取出 。但他没取出来 。除了等待，无计可施 。还有几个小时，一切就将结束 。内阁成员开始抵达，而疯狂的报道传遍了整个城市：联盟国再次宣战！战斗在街上爆发！陆军部的一位军官描述了当时的情况 。“尚不清楚阴谋的范围有多大，开始就这么可怕，接下来会发生什么事情 。这么血腥的行迹会如何演变？必须要对华盛顿的安全负责，人们必须了解情况，必须逮捕暗杀者和他的帮凶 。”
第二天清晨，亚伯拉罕·林肯去世了，那一天是4月15日 。牧师为他做了祷告，他的双目紧闭 。这条消息通过电报传遍全国的各个城镇，人们看到了电报中的消息，但却无法相信电报的内容 。对数百万美国民众来说，亚伯拉罕·林肯的去世是一种个人的损失 。他们不仅把他看作是美国总统，更是一位值得信赖的朋友 。悲伤的人们地把黑布挂到门上，甚至南方人也为他们以前的敌人林肯哀悼 。南方将领乔·约翰斯顿说：“林肯先生是我们的挚友，他的死对南方来说是最糟糕的事情 。”悲痛的哀悼从四面八方纷至沓来 。英国劳工组织说，他们永远不会忘记林肯说过的有关工人的话 。例如：“人类同情心最强烈的联结应该是把所有国家，讲不同语言的所有劳动人民团结起来 。”
一位代表数百名法国学生的群体发送了这样一条消息：“我们为同胞林肯悼念，再也没有任何国家封闭在狭隘的边境之上 。在我们的国家里，既没有主人，也没有奴隶 。无论人们生活在自由之中，抑或为自由而战 。我们望向大海的另一边，去了解一个懂得如何使自己自由的人，知道怎样来保有自由 。”暗杀林肯的行为触动了美国作家的想象力，许多人尝试用言语表达他们的感情 。沃尔特·惠特曼写了几首悼念诗 。这是其中一首诗的一部分，“哦，船长！我的船长！”