Gateway to the Classics: Poems Every Child Should Know by Mary E. Burt
Poems Every Child Should Know by  Mary E. Burt


"America" (Samuel Francis Smith, 1808-95) is a good poem to learn as a poem, regardless of the fact that every American who can sing it ought to know it, that he may join in the chorus when patriotic celebrations call for it. My boys love to repeat the entire poem, but I often find masses of people trying to sing it, knowing only one stanza. It is our national anthem, and a part of our education to know every word of it.

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.

My native country, thee—

Land of the noble free—

Thy name I love;

I love thy rocks and rills,

Thy woods and templed hills;

My heart with rapture thrills,

Like that above.

Let music swell the breeze,

And ring from all the trees

Sweet freedom's song;

Let mortal tongues awake;

Let all that breathe partake;

Let rocks their silence break—

The sound prolong.

Our fathers' God, to Thee,

Author of liberty,

To Thee we sing:

Long may our land be bright

With freedom's holy light:

Protect us by Thy might,

Great God, our King.

S.F. Smith.

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