America, by Samuel Francis Smith


My country, tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing:
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims' pride,
From every mountain-side
Let freedom ring.

Our fathers' God, to thee,
Author of liberty,
To thee I sing;
Long may our land be bright
With freedoms' holy light;
Protect us by thy might,
Great God, our King!

Note: This poem, which is now considered by many to be the great national hymn of the United States, was sung first at a Fourth of July Celebration for children in the Park Street Church, Boston.

The author was born in Boston in 1808, and graduated from Harvard University in the same class with Oliver Wendell Holmes. When Smith Wrote America he was a student in the Andover Theological Seminary. Many years after they had left college, Dr. Holmes at a reunion of his class read his famous poem The Boys. In it he alludes to Samuel Francis Smith as follows:

"He chanted a song for the brave and the free; Just read on his medal 'My country, of thee.' "

Penny Parker

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