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Best Famous Emma Lazarus Poems

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by Emma Lazarus | |

The New Colossus

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!"


by Emma Lazarus | |

The New Ezekiel

  What, can these dead bones live, whose sap is dried 
By twenty scorching centuries of wrong? 
Is this the House of Israel, whose pride 
Is as a tale that's told, an ancient song? 
Are these ignoble relics all that live 
Of psalmist, priest, and prophet? Can the breath 
Of very heaven bid these bones revive, 
Open the graves and clothe the ribs of death? 

Yea, Prophesy, the Lord hath said.
Again Say to the wind, Come forth and breathe afresh, Even that they may live upon these slain, And bone to bone shall leap, and flesh to flesh.
The Spirit is not dead, proclaim the word, Where lay dead bones, a host of armed men stand! I ope your graves, my people, saith the Lord, And I shall place you living in your land.


by Emma Lazarus | |

To R.W.E.

 As when a father dies, his children draw 
About the empty hearth, their loss to cheat 
With uttered praise & love, & oft repeat 
His all-familiar words with whispered awe.
The honored habit of his daily law, Not for his sake, but theirs whose feeble feet Need still that guiding lamp, whose faith, less sweet, Misses that tempered patience without flaw, So do we gather round thy vacant chair, In thine own elm-roofed, amber-rivered town, Master & Father! For the love we bear, Not for thy fame's sake, do we weave this crown, And feel thy presence in the sacred air, Forbidding us to weep that thou art gone.


by Emma Lazarus | |

St Michaels Chapel

 When the vexed hubbub of our world of gain 
Roars round about me as I walk the street, 
The myriad noise of Traffic, and the beat 
Of Toil's incessant hammer, the fierce strain 
Of struggle hand to hand and brain to brain, 
Ofttimes a sudden dream my sense will cheat, 
The gaudy shops, the sky-piled roofs retreat, 
And all at once I stand enthralled again 
Within a marble minster over-seas.
I watch the solemn gold-stained gloom that creeps To kiss an alabaster tomb, where sleeps A lady 'twixt two knights' stone effigies, And every day in dusky glory steeps Their sculptured slumber of five centuries.


by Emma Lazarus | |

Venus of the Louvre

 Down the long hall she glistens like a star, 
The foam-born mother of Love, transfixed to stone, 
Yet none the less immortal, breathing on.
Time's brutal hand hath maimed but could not mar.
When first the enthralled enchantress from afar Dazzled mine eyes, I saw not her alone, Serenely poised on her world-worshipped throne, As when she guided once her dove-drawn car,-- But at her feet a pale, death-stricken Jew, Her life adorer, sobbed farewell to love.
Here Heine wept! Here still he weeps anew, Nor ever shall his shadow lift or move, While mourns one ardent heart, one poet-brain, For vanished Hellas and Hebraic plain.


by Emma Lazarus | |

The Supreme Sacrifice

 Well-nigh two thousand years hath Israel 
Suffered the scorn of man for love of God; 
Endured the outlaw's ban, the yoke, the rod, 
With perfect patience.
Empires rose and fell, Around him Nebo was adored and Bel; Edom was drunk with victory, and trod On his high places, while the sacred sod Was desecrated by the infidel.
His faith proved steadfast, without breach or flaw, But now the last renouncement is required.
His truth prevails, his God is God, his Law Is found the wisdom most to be desired.
Not his the glory! He, maligned, misknown, Bows his meek head, and says, "Thy will be done!"


by Emma Lazarus | |

Echoes

 Late-born and woman-souled I dare not hope, 
The freshness of the elder lays, the might 
Of manly, modern passion shall alight 
Upon my Muse's lips, nor may I cope 
(Who veiled and screened by womanhood must grope) 
With the world's strong-armed warriors and recite 
The dangers, wounds, and triumphs of the fight; 
Twanging the full-stringed lyre through all its scope.
But if thou ever in some lake-floored cave O'erbrowed by rocks, a wild voice wooed and heard, Answering at once from heaven and earth and wave, Lending elf-music to thy harshest word, Misprize thou not these echoes that belong To one in love with solitude and song.


by Emma Lazarus | |

Echoes

 THE MIGHT that shaped itself through storm and stress
In chaos, here is lulled in breathing sweet;
Under the long brown ridge in gentleness
 Its fierce old pulses beat.
Quiet and sad we go at eve; the fire That woke exultant in an earlier day Is dead; the memories of old desire Only in shadows play.
We liken love to this and that; our thought The echo of a deeper being seems: We kiss, because God once for beauty sought Within a world of dreams.


by Emma Lazarus | |

The Taming of the Falcon

 The bird sits spelled upon the lithe brown wrist 
Of yonder turbaned fowler, who had lamed 
No feather limb, but the winged spirit tamed 
With his compelling eye.
He need not trust The silken coil, not set the thick-limed snare; He lures the wanderer with his steadfast gaze, It shrinks, it quails, it trembles yet obeys.
And, lo! he has enslaved the thing of air.
The fixed, insistent human will is lord Of all the earth;--but in the awful sky Reigns absolute, unreached by deed or word Above creation; through eternity, Outshining the sun's shield, the lightening's sword, The might of Allah's unaverted eye.


by Emma Lazarus | |

Long Island Sound

 I see it as it looked one afternoon 
In August,-by a fresh soft breeze o'erblown.
The swiftness of the tide, the light thereon, A far-off sail, white as a crescent moon.
The shining waters with pale currents strewn, The quiet fishing-smacks, the Eastern cove, The semi-circle of its dark, green grove.
The luminous grasses, and the merry sun In the grave sky; the sparkle far and wide, Laughter of unseen children, cheerful chirp Of crickets, and low lisp of rippling tide, Light summer clouds fantastical as sleep Changing unnoted while I gazed thereon.
All these fair sounds and sights I made my own.


by Emma Lazarus | |

Success

 Oft have I brooded on defeat and pain, 
The pathos of the stupid, stumbling throng.
These I ignore to-day and only long To pour my soul forth in one trumpet strain, One clear, grief-shattering, triumphant song, For all the victories of man's high endeavor, Palm-bearing, laurel deeds that live forever, The splendor clothing him whose will is strong.
Hast thou beheld the deep, glad eyes of one Who has persisted and achieved? Rejoice! On naught diviner shines the all-seeing sun.
Salute him with free heart and choral voice, 'Midst flippant, feeble crowds of spectres wan, The bold, significant, successful man.


by Emma Lazarus | |

From One Augur to Another

 So, Calchas, on the sacred Palatine, 
You thought of Mopsus, and o'er wastes of sea 
A flower brought your message.
I divine (Through my deep art) the kindly mockery That played about your lips and in your eyes, Plucking the frail leaf, while you dreamed of home.
Thanks for the silent greeting! I shall prize, Beyond June's rose, the scentless flower of Rome.
All the Campagna spreads before my sight, The mouldering wall, the Caesars' tombs unwreathed, Rome and the Tiber, and the yellow light, Wherein the honey-colored blossom breathed.
But most I thank it--egoists that we be! For proving then and there you thought of me.


by Emma Lazarus | |

Critic and Poet: an Epilogue

 No man had ever heard a nightingale, 
When once a keen-eyed naturalist was stirred 
To study and define--what is a bird, 
To classify by rote and book, nor fail 
To mark its structure and to note the scale 
Whereon its song might possibly be heard.
Thus far, no farther;--so he spake the word.
When of a sudden,--hark, the nightingale! Oh deeper, higher than he could divine That all-unearthly, untaught strain! He saw The plain, brown warbler, unabashed.
"Not mine" (He cried) "the error of this fatal flaw.
No bird is this, it soars beyond my line, Were it a bird, 'twould answer to my law.
"


by Emma Lazarus | |

Influence

 The fervent, pale-faced Mother ere she sleep, 
Looks out upon the zigzag-lighted square, 
The beautiful bare trees, the blue night-air, 
The revelation of the star-strewn deep, 
World above world, and heaven over heaven.
Between the tree-tops and the skies, her sight Rests on a steadfast, ruddy-shining light, High in the tower, an earthly star of even.
Hers is the faith in saints' and angels' power, And mediating love--she breathes a prayer For yon tired watcher in the gray old tower.
He the shrewd, skeptic poet unaware Feels comforted and stilled, and knows not whence Falls this unwonted peace on heart and sense.


by Emma Lazarus | |

Life and Art

 Not while the fever of the blood is strong, 
The heart throbs loud, the eyes are veiled, no less 
With passion than with tears, the Muse shall bless 
The poet-sould to help and soothe with song.
Not then she bids his trembling lips express The aching gladness, the voluptuous pain.
Life is his poem then; flesh, sense, and brain One full-stringed lyre attuned to happiness.
But when the dream is done, the pulses fail, The day's illusion, with the day's sun set, He, lonely in the twilight, sees the pale Divine Consoler, featured like Regret, Enter and clasp his hand and kiss his brow.
Then his lips ope to sing--as mine do now.


by Emma Lazarus | |

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 art Of race or creed or rank devised, to rear Grim bulwarked hatred between heart and heart!"


by Emma Lazarus | |

Assurance

 Last night I slept, and when I woke her kiss 
Still floated on my lips.
For we had strayed Together in my dream, through some dim glade, Where the shy moonbeams scarce dared light our bliss.
The air was dank with dew, between the trees, The hidden glow-worms kindled and were spent.
Cheek pressed to cheek, the cool, the hot night-breeze Mingled ouir hair, our breath, and came and went, As sporting with our passion.
Low and deep Spake in mine ear her voice: "And didst thou dream, This could be buried? This could be sleep? And love be thrall to death! Nay, whatso seem, Have faith, dear heart; this is the thing that is!" Thereon I woke, and on my lips her kiss.


by Emma Lazarus | |

The Cranes of Ibicus

 Here was a man who watched the river flow 
Past the huge town, one gray November day.
Round him in narrow high-piled streets at play The boys made merry as they saw him go, Murmuring half-loud, with eyes upon the stream, The immortal screed he held within his hand.
For he was walking in an April land With Faust and Helen.
Shadowy as a dream Was the prose-world, the river and the town.
Wild joy possessed him; through enchanted skies He saw the cranes of Ibycus swoop down.
He closed the page, he lifted up his eyes, Lo--a black line of birds in wavering thread Bore him the greetings of the deathless dead!


by Emma Lazarus | |

Marriage Bells

 Music and silver chimes and sunlit air, 
Freighted with the scent of honeyed orange-flower; 
Glad, friendly festal faces everywhere.
She, rapt from all in this unearthly hour, With cloudlike, cast-back veil and faint-flushed cheek, In bridal beauty moves as in a trance Alone with him, and fears to breathe, to speak, Lest the rare, subtle spell dissolve perchance.
But he upon that floral head looks down, Noting the misty eyes, the grave sweet brow-- Doubts if her bliss be perfect as his own, And dedicates anew with inward vow His soul unto her service, to repay Richly the sacrifice she yields this day.