"The New Colossus" by Emma Lazarus

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!”
November 2, 1883 | Emma Lazarus (1849–1887)

  • Read the poem out loud.
  • Copy the poem into your copybook.
  • The title alludes to the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the ancient wonders of the world. Learn more about the Colossus of Rhodes.
  • Compare and contrast the Colossus of Rhodes with the Statue of Liberty.
  • What do you think the title, “Mother of Exiles,” refers to?
  • Retell the poem in your own words.

Additional Resources

Emma Lazarus
Biography at the National Park Service.

Taking a Closer Look at ‘The New Colossus’
Lesson plan from the National Park Service.

The Statue of Liberty
Lesson plan from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The New Colossus
Download from Scholastic.

Free Civics Studies Lesson 16: America’s Marvels
More about the Statue of Liberty along with other resources.

Online Poetry Anthology
Online Poetry Anthology

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