Emma Lazarus - poems - : Poems - Quotes .Emma Lazarus(22 July 1849 – 19 November 1887) Emma...
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Classic Poetry Series
Emma Lazarus- poems -
Publication Date: 2012
Publisher:Poemhunter.com - The World's Poetry Archive
Emma Lazarus(22 July 1849 19 November 1887) Emma Lazarus was an American Jewish poet born in New York City. She is best known for "The New Colossus", a sonnet written in 1883; its linesappear on a bronze plaque in the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty placed in1903. The sonnet was written for and donated to an auction, conducted by the"Art Loan Fund Exhibition in Aid of the Bartholdi Pedestal Fund for the Statue ofLiberty" to raise funds to build the pedestal. Emma Lazarus was honored by the Office of the Manhattan Borough President inMarch 2008 and was included in a map of historical sites related or dedicated toimportant women. Background Lazarus was the fourth of seven children of Moshe Lazarus and Esther Nathan,Sephardic Jews whose families, originally from Portugal, had been settled in NewYork since the colonial period. She was related through her mother to BenjaminN. Cardozo, Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court. From an early age, she studied American and British literature, as well as severallanguages, including German, French, and Italian. Her writings attracted theattention of Ralph Waldo Emerson. He corresponded with her until his death. Literary Career Lazarus wrote her own poems and edited many adaptations of German poems,notably those of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Heinrich Heine. She also wrotea novel and two plays. Her most famous work is "The New Colossus", which isinscribed on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. Lazarus' close friend RoseHawthorne Lathrop was inspired by "The New Colossus" to found the DominicanSisters of Hawthorne. Lazarus began to be more interested in her Jewish ancestry after reading theGeorge Eliot novel, Daniel Deronda, and as she heard of the Russian pogromsthat followed the assassination of Tsar Nicholas II in 1881. As a result of thisanti-Semitic violence, thousands of destitute Ashkenazi Jews emigrated from theRussian Pale of Settlement to New York. This led Lazarus to write articles on thesubject as well as the poem for which she was most famous in her lifetime,"Song of a Semite" (1882). Lazarus began at this point to advocate on behalf of
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indigent Jewish refugees and helped establish the Hebrew Technical Institute inNew York to provide vocational training to help destitute Jewish immigrantsbecome self-supporting. She traveled twice to Europe, first in 1883 and again from 1885 to 1887. Shereturned to New York City seriously ill after her second trip and died two monthslater on November 19, 1887, most likely from Hodgkin's lymphoma. She is also an important forerunner of the Zionist movement. She argued for thecreation of a Jewish homeland thirteen years before Theodor Herzl began to usethe term Zionism. Lazarus is buried in Beth-Olom Cemetery in Brooklyn.
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1492 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 artOf race or creed or rank devised, to rearGrim bulwarked hatred between heart and heart!" Emma Lazarus
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A June Night Ten o'clock: the broken moonHangs not yet a half hour high,Yellow as a shield of brass,In the dewy air of June,Poised between the vaulted skyAnd the ocean's liquid glass. Earth lies in the shadow still;Low black bushes, trees, and lawnNight's ambrosial dews absorb;Through the foliage creeps a thrill,Whispering of yon spectral dawnAnd the hidden climbing orb. Higher, higher, gathering light,Veiling with a golden gauzeAll the trembling atmosphere,See, the rayless disk grows white!Hark, the glittering billows pause! Faint, far sounds possess the ear.Elves on such a night as thisSpin their rings upon the grass;On the beach the water-fayGreets her lover with a kiss;Through the air swift spirits pass,Laugh, caress, and float away. Shut thy lids and thou shalt seeAngel faces wreathed with light,Mystic forms long vanished hence.Ah, too fine, too rare, they beFor the grosser mortal sight,And they foil our waking sense. Yet we feel them floating near,Know that we are not alone,Though our open eyes beholdNothing save the moon's bright sphere,
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In the vacant heavens shown,And the ocean's path of gold. Emma Lazarus
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A Masque Of Venice (A Dream.) Not a stain,In the sun-brimmed sapphire cup that is the sky-Not a ripple on the black translucent laneOf the palace-walled lagoon.Not a cryAs the gondoliers with velvet oar glide by,Through the golden afternoon. From this heightWhere the carved, age-yellowed balcony o'erjutsYonder liquid, marble pavement, see the lightShimmer soft beneath the bridge,That abutsOn a labyrinth of water-ways and shutsHalf their sky off with its ridge. We shall markAll the pageant from this ivory porch of ours,Masques and jesters, mimes and minstrels, while we harkTo their music as they fare.Scent their flowersFlung from boat to boat in rainbow radiant showersThrough the laughter-ringing air. See! they come,Like a flock of serpent-throated black-plumed swans,With the mandoline, viol, and the drum,Gems afire on arms ungloved,Fluttering fans,Floating mantles like a great moth's streaky vansSuch as Veronese loved. But beholdIn their midst a white unruffled swan appear.One strange barge that snowy tapestries enfold,White its tasseled, silver prow.Who is here?
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Prince of Love in masquerade or Prince of Fear,Clad in glittering silken snow? Cheek and chinWhere the mask's edge stops are of the hoar-frosts hue,And no eyebeams seem to sparkle from withinWhere the hollow rings have place.Yon gay crewSeem to fly him, he seems ever to pursue.'T is our sport to watch the race. At his sideStands the goldenest of beauties; from her glance,From her forehead, shines the splendor of a bride,And her feet seem shod with wings,To entrance,For she leaps into a wild and rhythmic dance,Like Salome at the King's. 'T is his aimJust to hold, to clasp her once against his breast,Hers to flee him, to elude him in the game.Ah, she fears him overmuch!Is it jest,-Is it earnest? a strange riddle lurks half-guessedIn her horror of his touch. For each timeThat his snow-white fingers reach her, fades some rayFrom the glory of her beauty in its prime;And the knowledge grows upon us that the danceIs no play'Twixt the pale, mysterious lover and the fay-But the whirl of fate and chance. Where the tideOf the broad lagoon sinks plumb into the sea,There the mystic gondolier hath won his bride.Hark, one helpless, stifled scream!Must it be?Mimes and minstrels, flowers and music, where are ye?Was all Venice such a dream?
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Admetus: To My Friend, Ralph Waldo Emerson He who could beard the lion in his lair,To bind him for a girl, and tame the boar,And drive these beasts before his chariot,Might wed Alcestis. For her low brows' sake,Her hairs' soft undulations of warm gold,Her eyes' clear color and pure virgin mouth,Though many would draw bow or shiver spear,Yet none dared meet the intolerable eye,Or lipless tusk, of lion or of boar.This heard Admetus, King of Thessaly,Whose broad, fat pastures spread their ample fieldsDown to the sheer edge of Amphrysus' stream,Who laughed, disdainful, at the father's pride,That set such value on one milk-faced child. One morning, as he rode alone and passedThrough the green twilight of Thessalian woods,Between two pendulous branches interlocked,As through an open casement, he descriedA goddess, as he deemed, in truth a maid.On a low bank she fondled tenderlyA favorite hound, her floral face inclinedAbove the glossy, graceful animal,That pressed his snout against her cheek and gazedWistfully, with his keen, sagacious eyes. One arm with lax embrace the neck enwreathed,With polished roundness near the sleek, gray skin.Admetus, fixed with wonder, dared not pass,Intrusive on her holy innocenceAnd sacred girlhood, but his fretful steedSnuffed the large air, and champed and pawed the ground;And hearing this, the maiden raised her head.No let or hindrance then might stop the king,Once having looked upon those supreme eyes.The drooping boughs disparting, forth he sped,And then drew in his steed, to ask the path,
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Like a lost traveller in an alien land.Although each river-cloven vale, with streamsArrowy glancing to the blue gean,Each hallowed mountain, the abode of gods,Pelion and Ossa fringed with haunted groves,The height, spring-crowned, of dedicate Olympus,And pleasant sun-fed vineyards, were to himFamiliar as his own face in the stream,Nathless he paused and asked the maid what pathMight lead him from the forest. She replied,But still he tarried, and with sportsman's praiseAdmired the hound and stooped to stroke its head,And asked her if she hunted. Nay, not she:Her father Pelias hunted in these woods,Where there was royal game. He knew her now, Alcestis, and her left her with due thanks:No goddess, but a mortal, to be wonBy such a simple feat as driving boarsAnd lions to his chariot. What was thatTo him who saw the