My Country, 'Tis of Thee

From Academic Kids

"My Country, 'Tis of Thee" (also known as "America") is an American patriotic song, sung to the tune of God Save the Queen, the British national anthem and royal anthem of British Commonwealth countries. The same melody is the national anthem of Liechtenstein and has served as an anthem for Denmark, Germany, Russia, Sweden and Switzerland.

The text was written by Rev. Samuel F. Smith in 1832.

Although the tune is essentially identical to that of the British anthem, God Save the Queen is normally played fairly slowly and floridly, whereas My Country, 'tis of thee is usually sung a little more briskly and more in the style of a hymn.

The most famous portion of the song is the first verse:

My Country, 'tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing.
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrim's pride,
From every mountainside
Let freedom ring.

Three additional verses are widely known:

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 fills
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.

(In one of the original texts, the fifth and sixth lines are transposed and slightly altered, reading: "Let all that breathes partake;/Let mortal tongues awake.")

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!

One verse, crossed out by Smith in original manuscripts, is generally omitted. Originally the third verse, it reads:

No more shall tyrants here
With haughty steps appear
And soldier bands.
No more shall tyrants dread
Above the patriot dead;
No more our blood be shed
By alien hands.

Ani DiFranco wrote a parody of it, called 'Tis of Thee, which points out flaws seen in U.S. society by DiFranco, particularly vast social and economic inequalities.

There have also been irreverent and nonsensical verses put to it by youngsters, such as the following example, which obviously dates to World War II or so:

My Country, 'tis of thee
Sweet land of Germany
My name is Fritz
My father was a spy
Caught by the FBI
Hung by his purple tie
What a way to die!

Template:American songspl:My Country, Tis of Thee


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