1492

By Emma Lazarus 1849–1887 Emma Lazarus
Thou two-faced year, Mother of Change and Fate,
Didst weep when Spain cast forth with flaming sword,
The children of the prophets of the Lord,
Prince, priest, and people, spurned by zealot hate.
Hounded from sea to sea, from state to state,
The West refused them, and the East abhorred.
No anchorage the known world could afford,
Close-locked was every port, barred every gate.
Then smiling, thou unveil’dst, O two-faced year,
A virgin world where doors of sunset part,
Saying, "Ho, all who weary, enter here!
There falls each ancient barrier that the art
Of race or creed or rank devised, to rear
Grim bulwarked hatred between heart and heart!"

Source: Emma Lazarus: Selected Poems and Other Writings (2002)

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Poet Emma Lazarus 1849–1887

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Subjects History & Politics, Heroes & Patriotism, Religion, Social Commentaries, Travels & Journeys

Poetic Terms Sonnet

 Emma  Lazarus

Biography

Emma Lazarus was born in New York City to a wealthy family and educated by private tutors. She began writing poetry as a teenager and took up the cause — through both poetry and prose — against the persecution of Jews in Russia during the 1880s. Lines from her sonnet “The New Colossus” were engraved on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty in 1903, memorializing the famous lines, “Give me your tired, your poor,/Your huddled . . .

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SUBJECT History & Politics, Heroes & Patriotism, Religion, Social Commentaries, Travels & Journeys

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Poetic Terms Sonnet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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