In 1883, poet Emma Lazarus was asked to compose a sonnet for the “Art Loan Fund Exhibition in Aid of the Bartholdi Pedestal Fund for the Statue of Liberty” — an art and literary auction to raise funds for Lady Liberty’s pedestal. The sonnet was inscribed on a plaque and placed on the inner wall of the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, where millions have read it.
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!”
— Emma Lazarus, November 2, 1883
The Statue of Liberty, photo: Veryhuman, Creative Commons