The New Colossus


You recognize Emma Lazarus' most famous sonnet, published in 1883, not necessarily by its title, but by its welcoming words, inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty: "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free."
Lazarus' poem is often introduced to upper primary students.

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 be free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
--Emma Lazarus, 1883

This poem is featured in our selection of Children's Poems and 100 Great Poems


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