America The Beautiful

Music by Samuel A. Ward, 1888; words by Katherine Lee Bates, 1893

FZ album(s) in which song has appeared

Tour(s) on which song is known to have been performed (main source: FZShows, v. 7.1)

Comments

Marc De Bruyn (emdebe@village.uunet.be), September 5, 2003

Katharine Lee Bates (1859-1929) wrote the original version in 1893, inspired by a trip to the 14,000-foot Pikes Peak, Colorado; she wrote the 2nd version in 1904, while her final version was written in 1913. Her poem, "America the Beautiful" first appeared in print in The Congregationalist, a weekly journal, on July 4, 1895. The music, "Materna," was composed by Samuel Augustus Ward (1847-1903) in 1882, nearly a decade before the poem was written! For two years after the poem was written it was sung to just about any popular or folk tune that would fit with the lyrics, with "Auld Lang Syne" being the most notable of those; the words were not published together with "Materna" until 1910.

"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 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 the 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 stern 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!"

Don Bredes, December 21, 2003

In "America the Beautiful," isn't the third line "for purple mountains' majesty above the fruited plain"? I have never heard it your way until recently, and it seems utterly wrong and clumsy.

 

Conceptual Continuity

More U.S.A. patriotic songs:

 

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