SAMUEL FRANCIS SMITH - AUTOGRAPH POEM SIGNED - HFSID 28140
Sale Price $3,187.50
SAMUEL FRANCIS SMITH
Samuel Francis Smith pens and signs the complete four stanzas of his most famous hymn, "America", which was also popularly known as "My Country 'Tis of Thee".
Autograph Poem signed: "S.F. Smith" on fourth sheet, 4p, 6x3, separate sheets. The four complete four stanzas of Smith's most famous hymn, "America", which was also popularly known as "My Country 'Tis of Thee". Each stanza has been written on a separate sheet.First stanza: "My country, - 'tis of thee,/Sweet land of liberty,/Of thee I sing;/Land where my fathers died,/Land of the pilgrims' pride,/From every mountain side,/Let freedom ring." Second stanza: "My native country, - thee,/Land of the noble free,/Thy name I love;/I love thy rocks and rills,/Thy woods and templed hills,/My heart with rapture thrills,/Like that above." Third stanza: Let music swell the breeze,/And ring from all the trees,/Sweet freedom's song;/Let mortal tongues awake,/Let all that breathe partake,/Let rocks their silence break,/The sound prolong." Fourth stanza: "Our fathers' God, to Thee,/Author of liberty,/To Thee we sing;/Long may our land be bright/With freedom's holy light,/Protect us by Thy might,/Great God, our King." After a visit to Germany in 1831, 23-year-old theological student Samuel Francis Smith (1808-1895), impressed that German children started their school day by singing a hymn, wrote a patriotic hymn using a simple German melody. Coincidentally, the melody was the same as that of the British national anthem, "God Save the King". Smith jotted down the complete hymn on a piece of scrap paper within half an hour, and the result, "America", was first sung at a children's celebration in Boston's Park Street Church on July 4, 1832. George Gershwin used Smith's phrase "Of Thee I Sing" as the title of his 1932 Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, and the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. quoted the entire first stanza as he concluded his "I have a dream" speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963. All sheets slightly soiled. Signature sheet chipped at upper left blank corner. Overall, fine condition.
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