Tuesday, January 22, 2013

America - By Samuel Francis Smith

**Okay I just had to update this blog post because I was getting the song America (My Country Tis of Thee) confused with America the Beautiful written by Katharine Lee Bates. 

Yesterday I was watching Barack Obama and Joseph Biden being sworn in for a second term.  I did not watch everything from start to finish.  I started watching it online from just before both men were sworn in up to Beyonce singing the Nation Anthem.  One of the most moving moments for me was when Kelly Clarkson sang the song America.  Some people call it My Country Tis of Thee.  From what I can find online it looks like the original name was simply America, and that to me says it all.
To me Kelly Clarkson did an absolutely amazing job singing America.  I was so moved and the lyrics always sends wonderful sparks of electricity throughout my being.

The lyrics was written by Samuel Francis Smith and he titled the song "America".  Smith was born on October 21, 1808 in Boston, Massachusetts and graduated from Harvard College (now Harvard University) in 1829.  He became a Baptist minster, journalist and author.  Samuel Smith was also a professor at Waterville College in Maine. 

Samuel Francis Smith

Samuel Francis Smith left us on November 16, 1895 and his song "America" was performed at his funeral.  
My country tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing.
Land where my fathers died!
Land of the Pilgrim's pride!
From every mountain side,
Let freedom ring!

My native country, thee,
Land of the noble free,
Thy name I love.
I love thy rocks and rills,
Thy woods and templed hills;
My heart with rapture fills
Like that above.

Let music swell the breeze,
And ring from all the trees
Sweet freedom's song.
Let mortal tongues awake;
Let all that breathe partake;
Let rocks their silence break,
The sound prolong.

Our father's God to, Thee,
Author of liberty,
To Thee we sing.
Long may our land be bright
With freedom's holy light;
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God, our King!

Here are the lyrics to America the Beautiful

The Original poem by Katharine Lee Bates - America the Beautiful
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 pilgrim 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 or 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!


Anonymous said...

Kelly Clarkson did do a lovely job of singing "My Country Tis of Thee" at yesterday's inauguration.

And "America the Beautiful" is another lovely song. Thank you for sharing the inspiring words with his. Most of us only know the first verse.

Collar City Brownstone said...

OMG!!! Cannot believe that I made that mistake. I always get America, My Country Tis of Thee and The National Anthem mixed up but I LOVE them all....LOL I had better fix this blog post fast before someone calls me an idiot.