The New Colossus

Original Text: 
The Poems of Emma Lazarus, 2 vols. (Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin, and Co., 1889), I: 202-03. Cf. and facsimile of her manuscript there.
2With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
3Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
4A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
5Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
6Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
7Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
9"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
10With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
11Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
12The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
13Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
14I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"


1] "Written in aid of Bartholdi Pedestal Fund, 1883." (author's note) This sonnet now rests on a bronze plaque at the base of the Statue of Liberty in the harbour of New York city.
Lazarus refers to the Colossus of Rhodes by Chares of Lindus, one of the seven wonders of the world, destroyed by an earthquake in 224 B.C. Back to Line
8] twin cities: evidently, New York and Brooklyn (which was not consolidated with the other boroughs until 1898). Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 2001