Poetry

‘The New Colossus’ by Emma Lazarus

The New Colossus

Emma Lazarus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

emma lazarus
Photo: Getty Images

Emma Lazarus (1849–1887) was an American poet who was highly influential in the formation of America’s identity as an independent nation. The last lines of her poem, The New Colossus, inscribed in 1903, appear on the bronze plaque on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.