Wednesday, July 1, 2009

America, the Beautiful

America, the Beautiful
Katherine Lee Bates

O beautiful for spacious skies, For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountains majesties Above the fruited plain!
America! America! God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood, From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet, Whose stern, impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat Across the wilderness!
America! America! God mend thine ev'ry flaw.
Confirm thy soul in self control, Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved, And mercy more than life!
America! America! May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness And every grain divine!

O beautiful for patriot dream That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam, Undimmed by human tears!
America! America! God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood From sea to shining sea.

Katherine Lee Bates was a professor from Wellesley College and decided to visit Pike's Peak after a visit to the Chicago's World's Fair in 1893. While at the top, enjoying the view, the first lines of the hymn entered her mind. She wrote the four stanzas in a notebook and later copied them and sent them to The Congregationalist where they appeared in print for the first time on July 4, 1895. It was later re-written by Bates in 1904 in a more simple style.

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