America the Beautiful

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Melody - "Materna" Samuel A. Ward, 1882
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Katherine Lee Bates, 1893

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!

2. O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stem impassioned - stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend shine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul
In self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

3. O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife.
Who more than self the country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success
Be nobleness
And every gain divine!

4. 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!

5. 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!

6. 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!

7. 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!

8. 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!


The words were written in the summer of 1893 by Ms. Bates upon her return from her first trip to the summit of Pike's Peak where the opening lines had been inspired by the beautiful view of "spacious skies" and "purple mountain majesties". They were first printed in a magazine on July 4th, 1895 and were soon after set to music. They have been sung to numerous tunes, but "Materna" is the best known. - From The Golden Book of Favorite Songs, 1915.

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