Sunday 4 September 2016

The New Colussus

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Emma Lazarus circa 1872 courtesy

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning,and her name
Mother of Exiles.  From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips.  "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses 
yearning to breathe free
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me
I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

The Statue of Liberty, dedicated in 1886, sits on Liberty Island.  New immigrants used to pass by it on their way to the immigration station on Ellis Island.  Emma Lazarus' sonnet, The New Colussus, was written in 1883 and inscribed on the base of the State of Liberty in 1903. 

State of Liberty circa early 1900's when poem was inscribed courtesy

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