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Emma Lazarus

(22 July 1849 – 19 November 1887 / New York City / United States)

The New Colossus


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!"

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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  • Bronze Star - 5,547 Points * Sunprincess * (6/1/2014 3:48:00 PM)

    .............still it is a beautiful poem even if the wording is a little off,

    the wretches refused of your teeming shores
    .......is better English.... (Report) Reply

  • Veteran Poet - 4,763 Points Lorraine Margueritte Gasrel Black (3/11/2009 1:34:00 PM)

    OR: the wretches refused from distant shores.

    I know it's a very famous poem written by an elite, wealthy person who lived at a time when many starving people from Europe immigrated to the US.I think the original line reflects a certain snobby attitude towards those very poor people even though the poet's intentions may have been veiled and her words cloaked with pity for the unfortunate. (Report) Reply

  • Veteran Poet - 4,763 Points Lorraine Margueritte Gasrel Black (3/11/2009 12:24:00 PM)

    I would have written 'wretched refused from your teeming shores'.

    For some reason the term euro-trash was coined from a very simple mistake that could have been easily corrected.The slur may not have been used in Emma's day but people do like to twist things around and take advantage.I'm the oldest daughter of parents who immigrated to the US after WW2 ended became naturalise, lawabiding, tax paying and hardworking moral citizens and someone used that derogatory terminology towards them and any immigrant who have chosen to reached these shores and settle here in our great country.I was born in New York City...so techniclly it makes me a native just like all US citizens of any ancestry of whom respect should be shown.

    I will give this poem a ten but I just feel that it would have given fairer treatment and dignity to all immigrants if it had been worded slightly differently. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Organizied Anarchist (2/1/2007 6:10:00 PM)

    No one commented on this? I think it's a great poem, obviously written on the Statue of Liberty. The famous line 'Give me your tired, your poor, /Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free' is quoted tons of places as a symbol of the 'American' spirit of liberty. I just think it's a great line. For some reason, 'huddled masses yearning to breathe free' is very discriptive language to me and it's really beautiful. (Report) Reply

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