#339 My Country, ‘Tis of Thee

Music & voice:
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Music only:
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Lyrics:

1. My country, ’tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims’ pride,
From ev’ry mountainside
Let freedom ring!

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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!

Text: Samuel F. Smith, 1808-1895
Music: From Thesaurus Musicus, London, 1744

-History: (Source: Wikipedia)

My Country, ‘Tis of Thee“, also known as “America“, is an American patriotic song, whose lyrics were written by Samuel Francis Smith. The melody is that of the British national anthem, “God Save the Queen“, although Smith encountered it by way of a German adaptation. The song served as a de facto national anthem of the United States before the adoption of “The Star-Spangled Banner” as the official anthem.[2]

Samuel Francis Smith wrote the lyrics to “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” in 1831,[3] while a student at the Andover Theological Seminary in Andover, Massachusetts. His friend Lowell Mason had asked him to translate the lyrics in some German school songbooks or to write new lyrics. A melody in Muzio Clementi‘s Symphony No. 3 caught his attention. Rather than translating the lyrics from German, Smith wrote his own American patriotic hymn to the melody completing the lyrics in thirty minutes.

Smith gave Mason the lyrics he had written and the song was first performed in public on July 4, 1831,[3] at a children’s Independence Day celebration at Park Street Church in Boston. First publication of ‘America” was in 1832.[3]

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