Sonnet To America

I recently did a Google search for poems about patriotism. It seemed the thing to do given our country’s current situation, and in light of the upcoming presidential election. Me, I have always been proud to be an American. Not once have I wished I lived elsewhere. This I claim in spite of all that’s been wrong in our past, and despite the many problems and challenges we face today.

Here is a poem by Sir Edwin Arnold. Arnold was born at Gravesend, Kent, the second son of a Sussex magistrate, Robert Coles Arnold. One of his six children was the novelist Edwin Lester Arnold. He was educated at King’s School, Rochester; King’s College, London; and University College, Oxford, where he won the Newdigate Prize for poetry in 1852.

AMERICA! At this thy Golden Gate,
New traveled from those portals of the West,
Parting — I make my reverence! It were best
With backward looks to quit a Queen in state!

Land of all lands most fair, and free, and great,
Of countless kindred lips, wherefrom I heard
Sweet speech of Shakespeare — keep it consecrate
For noble uses! Land of Freedom’s Bird,
Fearless and proud! So let him soar that, stirred

With generous joy, all lands may learn from thee
A larger life, and Europe, undeterred
By ancient dreads, dare also to be free
Body and Soul, seeing thine eagle gaze
Undazzled, upon Freedom’s sun full-blaze.

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