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Spirit And Heritage In Song – ‘My Country Tis Of Thee’ – 1831


Spirit & Heritage In Song is a series highlighting Traditional American Music.

In the last half century many of these traditional songs have been forgotten in a flood of contemporary music and international cultural influences. Yet these songs, ballads, melodies and hymns reflect the events, cultural backgrounds, aspirations, land and faith that make up the soul of the American People far more than the strains of moderne music that have washed upon the nation’s shores. This series is offered as a reminder of the Spirit of America as given voice in song.




Samuel Francis Smith


Samuel Francis Smith, 1831


The America of Samuel F. Smith

“Samuel Francis Smith was a friend and classmate of Oliver Wendell Holmes at Harvard University. Smith went on to attend Andover Theological Seminary, and after entering the Baptist ministry in 1832, subsequently assumed numerous ministry, professorial, and editorial posts. For their 1829 class reunion, Holmes wrote of his good friend:


There’s a nice youngster of excellent pith,
Fate tried to conceal him by naming him Smith;
But he shouted a song for the brave and the free,
Just read on his medal, “My country,” “of thee.


Holmes was here referring to the song, penned by Samuel Smith, which has survived the ages as “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee.” Read more.



See other songs of the American Spirit in History and in Music



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.


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.


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.


Our fathers’ God to Thee,
Author of Liberty,

Embarkation of the Pilgrims

To thee we sing,
Long may our land be bright
With Freedom’s holy light,
Protect us by thy might
Great God, our King.


Our glorious Land to-day,
‘Neath Education’s sway,
Soars upward still.
Its hills of learning fair,
Whose bounties all may share,
behold them everywhere
On vale and hill!


Thy safeguard, Liberty,
The school shall ever be,
Our Nation’s pride!
No tyrant hand shall smite,
While with encircling might
All here are taught the Right
With Truth allied.


Beneath Heaven’s gracious will
The stars of progress still
Our course do sway;
In unity sublime
To broader heights we climb,
Triumphant over Time,
God speeds our way!


Grand birthright of our sires,
Our altars and our fires

U.S. Flag - 24 stars (1822 – 1836)

Keep we still pure!
Our starry flag unfurled,
The hope of all the world,
In peace and light impearled,
God hold secure!


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