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America the Beautiful
Katharine Lee Bates

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!
O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern impassion'd stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness
America! America!
God mend thine ev'ry flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law.
O beautiful for heroes prov'd
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country lov'd,
And mercy more than life.
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness,
And ev'ry gain divine.
O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears.
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea.
This poem is in the public domain.

If Katharine Lee Bates’ (1859 - 1929) name sounds familiar, it should be. Her poem, "America the Beautiful," was set to music and became the patriotic anthem we all know and love. Daughter of a Congregationalist minister who died when she was a month old, Katharine was an English professor at Wellesley College for many years, as well as a noted scholar, poet, and writer of books for both children and adults. Serious-looking and somewhat awkward in movement, she was nonetheless very popular with her students because of her wicked sense of humor. Many of Katharine’s photographs show her with her collie, Hamlet, who was a beloved companion.

Post New Comment:
Larry Schug:
Such a lovely and important sentiment. It's too bad none of our candidates seem to give a damn about preserving our beautiful spacious skies or clean water or the fellow creatures who share the only place in the universe we caqn live.
Posted 11/06/2012 09:53 AM
Thanks for sharing our history on this important day.
Posted 11/06/2012 09:00 AM
Yes, yes: vote. I'm from Chicago where we'd tell one another, "vote early and vote often." As we ponder these fine lyrics let them remind us that many of our favorite songs began as poems.
Posted 11/06/2012 08:08 AM
I love that you chose this poem for such an important day as today! I am proud to exercise my right to cast my vote for the candidate of MY choice. Please vote! There are people around the world who are killed trying to do what we have a fundamental right in this country to do. There are Americans who have died defending our right to vote. Do not take this honor for granted! Whomever you agree with, support him/her!
Posted 11/06/2012 06:52 AM

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