America the Beautiful

1893


A teacher from Massachusetts, Katharine Lee Bates, wrote these verses while inspired by the view from Pikes Peak in Colorado in 1893. Eleven years later she revised the lyrics to their current form. The melody is Samuel A. Ward’s composition “Materna.”

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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 stem, impassioned stress

A thoroughfare for 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!

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