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Best Famous Emma Lazarus Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Emma Lazarus poems. This is a select list of the best famous Emma Lazarus poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Emma Lazarus poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Emma Lazarus poems.

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Written 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!"

Written by Emma Lazarus |



A dream of interlinking hands, of feet 
Tireless to spin the unseen, fairy woof 
Of the entangling waltz.
Bright eyebeams meet, Gay laughter echoes from the vaulted roof.
Warm perfumes rise; the soft unflickering glow Of branching lights sets off the changeful charms Of glancing gems, rich stuffs, the dazzling snow Of necks unkerchieft, and bare, clinging arms.
Hark to the music! How beneath the strain Of reckless revelry, vibrates and sobs One fundamental chord of constant pain, The pulse-beat of the poet's heart that throbs.
So yearns, though all the dancing waves rejoice, The troubled sea's disconsolate, deep voice.
II Who shall proclaim the golden fable false Of Orpheus' miracles? This subtle strain Above our prose-world's sordid loss and gain Lightly uplifts us.
With the rhythmic waltz, The lyric prelude, the nocturnal song Of love and languor, varied visions rise, That melt and blend to our enchanted eyes.
The Polish poet who sleeps silenced long, The seraph-souled musician, breathes again Eternal eloquence, immortal pain.
Revived the exalted face we know so well, The illuminated eyes, the fragile frame, Slowly consuming with its inward flame, We stir not, speak not, lest we break the spell.
III A voice was needed, sweet and true and fine As the sad spirit of the evening breeze, Throbbing with human passion, yet devine As the wild bird's untutored melodies.
A voice for him 'neath twilight heavens dim, Who mourneth for his dead, while round him fall The wan and noiseless leaves.
A voice for him Who sees the first green sprout, who hears the call Of the first robin on the first spring day.
A voice for all whom Fate hath set apart, Who, still misprized, must perish by the way, Longing with love, for that they lack the art Of their own soul's expression.
For all these Sing the unspoken hope, the vague, sad reveries.
IV Then Nature shaped a poet's heart--a lyre From out whose chords the lightest breeze that blows Drew trembling music, wakening sweet desire.
How shall she cherish him? Behold! she throws This precious, fragile treasure in the whirl Of seething passions; he is scourged and stung, Must dive in storm-vext seas, if but one pearl Of art or beauty therefrom may be wrung.
No pure-browed pensive nymph his Muse shall be, An amazon of thought with sovereign eyes, Whose kiss was poison, man-brained, worldy-wise, Inspired that elfin, delicate harmony.
Rich gain for us! But with him is it well? The poet who must sound earth, heaven, and hell!

Written 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!

More great poems below...

Written 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.

Written 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.

Written 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!"

Written by Emma Lazarus |


 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.

Written 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.

Written by Emma Lazarus |

In the Jewish Synagogue at Newport

 Here, where the noises of the busy town, 
The ocean's plunge and roar can enter not,
We stand and gaze around with tearful awe,
And muse upon the consecrated spot.
No signs of life are here: the very prayers Inscribed around are in a language dead; The light of the "perpetual lamp" is spent That an undying radiance was to shed.
What prayers were in this temple offered up, Wrung from sad hearts that knew no joy on earth, By these lone exiles of a thousand years, From the fair sunrise land that gave them birth! How as we gaze, in this new world of light, Upon this relic of the days of old, The present vanishes, and tropic bloom And Eastern towns and temples we behold.
Again we see the patriarch with his flocks, The purple seas, the hot blue sky o'erhead, The slaves of Egypt, -- omens, mysteries, -- Dark fleeing hosts by flaming angels led.
A wondrous light upon a sky-kissed mount, A man who reads Jehovah's written law, 'Midst blinding glory and effulgence rare, Unto a people prone with reverent awe.
The pride of luxury's barbaric pomp, In the rich court of royal Solomon -- Alas! we wake: one scene alone remains, -- The exiles by the streams of Babylon.
Our softened voices send us back again But mournful echoes through the empty hall: Our footsteps have a strange unnatural sound, And with unwonted gentleness they fall.
The weary ones, the sad, the suffering, All found their comfort in the holy place, And children's gladness and men's gratitude 'Took voice and mingled in the chant of praise.
The funeral and the marriage, now, alas! We know not which is sadder to recall; For youth and happiness have followed age, And green grass lieth gently over all.
Nathless the sacred shrine is holy yet, With its lone floors where reverent feet once trod.
Take off your shoes as by the burning bush, Before the mystery of death and God.

Written by Erica Jong |

Henry James in the Heart of the City

 We have a small sculpture of Henry James on our terrace in New York City.
Nothing would surprise him.
The beast in the jungle was what he saw-- Edith Wharton's obfuscating older brother.
He fled the demons of Manhattan for fear they would devour his inner ones (the ones who wrote the books) & silence the stifled screams of his protagonists.
To Europe like a wandering Jew-- WASP that he was-- but with the Jew's outsider's hunger.
face pressed up to the glass of sex refusing every passion but the passion to write the words grew more & more complex & convoluted until they utterly imprisoned him in their fairytale brambles.
Language for me is meant to be a transparency, clear water gleaming under a covered bridge.
I love his spiritual sister because she snatched clarity from her murky history.
Tormented New Yorkers both, but she journeyed to the heart of light-- did he? She took her friends on one last voyage, through the isles of Greece on a yacht chartered with her royalties-- a rich girl proud to be making her own money.
The light of the Middle Sea was what she sought.
All denizens of this demonic city caught between pitch and black long for the light.
But she found it in a few of her books.
while Henry James discovered what he had probably started with: that beast, that jungle, that solipsistic scream.
He did not join her on that final cruise.
(He was on his own final cruise).
Did he want to? I would wager yes.
I look back with love and sorrow at them both-- dear teachers-- but she shines like Miss Liberty to Emma Lazarus' hordes, while he gazes within, always, at his own impenetrable jungle.

Written by Emma Lazarus |


 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.

Written 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.

Written by 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!"

Written by Emma Lazarus |


 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.

Written 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.