Tuesday, August 26, 2008

PostHeaderIcon Patriot Dreams

As the patriotic ferver builds through the Democratic Convention in Denver, it needs to be noted that one of the most popular American anthems was written not far from there by Katherine Lee Bates -- who wrote "America the Beautiful" after an inspiring trip to Pikes Peak, Colorado.

Bates, a Wellesley College professor who lived for 25 years as "one soul together" with another woman, Katharine Coman.

Her "Wellesley wife," Katherine Coman, died of breast cancer in 1915. Bates continued to teach until 1920, when she retired to write poetry full time. Without Coman, though, she told a friend that she was "sometimes not quite sure whether I’m alive or not." Ms. Bates died in 1929 at age 70.

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 impassion'd stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness.

America! America!
God mend thine ev'ry flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law.

O beautiful for heroes prov'd
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved,
And mercy more than life.

America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness,
And ev'ry 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.

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