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Short poem

Emma Lazarus (1849-1887)

The New Colossus

              1Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
              2With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
              3Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
              4A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
              5Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
              6Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
              7Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
              8The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
              9"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
            10With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
            11Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
            12The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
            13Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
            14I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"


1] "Written in aid of Bartholdi Pedestal Fund, 1883." (author's note) This sonnet now rests on a bronze plaque at the base of the Statue of Liberty in the harbour of New York city.
Lazarus refers to the Colossus of Rhodes by Chares of Lindus, one of the seven wonders of the world, destroyed by an earthquake in 224 B.C.

8] twin cities: evidently, New York and Brooklyn (which was not consolidated with the other boroughs until 1898).

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: The Poems of Emma Lazarus, 2 vols. (Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin, and Co., 1889), I: 202-03. Cf. and facsimile of her manuscript there.
First publication date: 1883
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 2001
Recent editing: 2:2002/2/21

Composition date: 1883
Form: sonnet
Rhyme: abbaabbacdcdcd

Other poems by Emma Lazarus