Monday, July 4, 2011

America the Beautiful

It's late on the Fourth of July, and I've been trying to come up with something fitting, patriotic and poetic, to mark the day, but nothing comes to mind but a song.

Despite my current skeptical and less-than-enthusiastic view of the state of this nation, I'm still a citizen, and I still love my country. That's politically incorrect these days, when flying the flag, saying the pledge, wearing a flag pin, being an unabashed capitalist, believing the Constitution is still relevant, saying "under God" are activities looked down upon by many in leadership. But the first writing contest I won as a kid had the theme "What's Right with America" -- how can I give up now?

So, without further commentary, below are the lyrics to America the Beautiful, with some lines highlighted in red, simply because they hit me in the chest every time I hear or read them:

America the Beautiful
Words by Katharine Lee Bates,
Melody by Samuel Ward

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain 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 of freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine every 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 gain 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!

O beautiful for halcyon skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the enameled plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till souls wax fair as earth and air
And music-hearted sea!

O beautiful for pilgrims feet,
Whose stem impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till paths be wrought through
wilds of thought
By pilgrim foot and knee!

O beautiful for glory-tale
Of liberating strife
When once and twice,
for man's avail
Men lavished precious life!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till selfish gain no longer stain
The banner of the free!

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
Till nobler men keep once again
Thy whiter jubilee!

lyrics provided by ScoutSongs.com virtual songbook

2 comments:

Weaver said...

I love this song. Until I lived in Colorado Springs for a while I never realized she wrote this wonder verse from the top of Pikes Peak, where you really can see the mountains and the beginning of the great plains.

Thanks for the reminder.

Alexander Field said...

Happy 4th! : )