What are examples of official documents or speeches composed in verse? What is the most recent example of such document or speech?

One of the recent examples is Edmond Pope's attorney Pavel Astakhov who addressed the court in rhymed verse speech spanning 12 pages: http://www.kommersant.ru/doc/136839

I would like especially examples from politicians though.

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    +1 - interesting question. But perhaps define better what you mean by poetic form, particularly: Does free verse count? – user2590 Aug 14 '13 at 22:15
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    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about list – MCW Aug 15 '13 at 0:01
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    There is a problem with this question, and that is "Poetic form". The definitions of free verse differs in form very little from what since roman times have been seen as good rhetoric. The difference is normally that rhetoric is used to convince people, while free verse is used as an artistic expression. Hence, people have, post-facto, declared that some rhetoric is free verse. As such, what is poetry and what is not becomes a pure question of opinion, and this question therefore is not objectively asnwerable. – Lennart Regebro Aug 15 '13 at 7:04
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    @Anixx - see my comments about the nature of poetry on my answer. You need to edit your question - you are not asking for things that take "poetic form" - your terminology is incorrect. Perhaps you are not a native English speaker and don't have exactly the correct terminology at your disposal. (Again, I am not campaigning for my answer - but a question should be accurately worded.) – user2590 Aug 15 '13 at 9:40
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    @Anixx If free verse does not count, you should update your question to reflect that. – Lennart Regebro Aug 15 '13 at 10:04

Another example, more recent, is Churchill's speech to the House of Commons on June 4, 1940, particularly the final paragraph though his rhythm and repetition occurs throughout the speech to a lesser degree. Again a fine example of free verse.

Churchill's speech served multiple purposes. Firstly it needed to inspire the British people to continue the war. Secondly it needed to send a firm message to Hitler and Roosevelt that Britain was continuing the fight even without France. Thirdly it was part of a campaign by Churchill to obtain 50 moth-balled destroyers from the US that were needed for convoy escort. To that end it was vial that the US believe that Britain would continue the fight to the bitter end, and that the us would not be releasing the vessels only to have them attacking US commerce soon after. It would appear that the speech achieved all three objectives admirably.

Looking further back, one is left to wonder if all of Henry V's St. Crispins' Day address to his troops was wholly Shakespeare, or if any was possibly original Henry.

Update from Wikipedia on Prose:

On this point [distinction of prose from poetry] Samuel Taylor Coleridge requested, jokingly, that novice poets should know the "definitions of prose and poetry; that is,
prose,—words in their best order;
poetry,—the best words in their best order."

Update #2:
I just remembered MLK's I Have a Dream speech, particularly the second half. This speech was a seminal moment in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960's. An estimated one million attendees, white as well as black, attended in the Washington summer heat expecting the performance of a lifetime from King, and he delivered. I find it easy to imagine that any unsatisfactory performance by King on this occasion might have set the civil rights movement back, by disheartening the grass-roots support that it so depended on. Instead, King delivered probably his finest speech, to his largest audience.

  • I agree that the final verse of that speech can be regarded as poetry. It is also written after free verse became an accepted form of poetry, instead of predating it. The rest of the speech is not, it's just a fine example of rhetoric. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhetoric – Lennart Regebro Aug 15 '13 at 7:07
  • Sorry, I am not interested in "free verse". I am interested in true poetry. – Anixx Aug 15 '13 at 9:00
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    The Henry's speech would count if it was not from a play by a poet, lol. – Anixx Aug 15 '13 at 9:22
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    @Anixx - LOL. But Shakespeare used blank verse - "unrhymed iambic pentameter". Does this meet the definition of poetry according to your standards? – user2590 Aug 15 '13 at 9:44
  • @Vector following the link I see rhymed poetry to my impression. Anyway, it would count. – Anixx Aug 15 '13 at 9:48

Although perhaps not the most recent, it may well be the most famous: Lincoln's Gettysburg Address is considered to be one of the finest examples of free verse in the English language. See: The Gettysburg Address is poetry....Here is a list of the stylistic techniques and principal messages of the Address, for some very interesting discussion and analysis, as well as more scholarly references. I quote a short segement:

Akron Law Café Lincoln: The Gettysburg Address, By Wilson Huhn, Published: February 10, 2009:

...The Gettysburg Address is poetry. It is one of the finest examples of free verse in the English language. Lincoln voraciously read and enthusiastically watched Shakespearean plays, and this speech approaches Shakespeare at his best. The message is also important and powerful. It seeks to persuade us that America is a wonderful country not because of its wealth or its armies or its fruitful land or even its people (or, as many people of the South believed, because of White Supremacy), but because of the enduring principles to which we are devoted. Here is a list of the stylistic techniques and principal messages of the Address (redacted by me to include only those related to poetry per se): Rythym; Repetition; Metaphor; ..

Henry Louis Mencken, 1920, on the Gettysburg Address:

It is genuinely stupendous. But let us not forget that it is poetry, not logic; beauty, not sense.

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    @LennartRegebro - I guess you didn't bother to read answer's citation (it's not mine) which clearly outlines characteristics which define POETRY. And although you are not an a native English speaker (AFAIK) you are contradicted by numerous English speaking scholars, as a quick search on "gettysburg address" and "poetry" shows. And then we have this: dictionary.reference.com/browse/poetry?s=t: "the art of rhythmical composition, written or spoken, for exciting pleasure by beautiful, imaginative, or elevated thoughts." BTW, poetry and rhetoric are not mutually exclusive. – user2590 Aug 15 '13 at 5:38
  • @LennartRegebro - poetry does not have to rhyme... and according to your definition you should also downvote the other answer. – user2590 Aug 15 '13 at 5:39
  • @LennartRegebro - Henry Louis Mencken, 1920, on the Gettysburg Address: "It is genuinely stupendous. But let us not forget that it is poetry, not logic; beauty, not sense." – user2590 Aug 15 '13 at 6:03
  • Sorry, I am not interested in "free verse". I am interested in true poetry. – Anixx Aug 15 '13 at 9:01
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    @Vector free verse in not just something without rhyme. It is something without meter as well. I do not know about Homer writing something without meter. – Anixx Aug 15 '13 at 9:57

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