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America the Beautiful Lyrics

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern impassioned stress
A thoroughfare of freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

Click below to download the lyrics and original poem!

musical notes

The Story of the Song

During an 1893 hiking trip in Colorado, Katharine Lee Bates was inspired to write undoubtedly one of the most famous songs in US history. Bates was a professor, poet, and writer who traveled up Pike’s Peak (by covered wagon and mules) with fellow teachers from Colorado College. 

After the long trek, they reached the top and took in the magnificent view. 

At the 14,000-foot mountain summit, Katharine stood in awe and later recalled that moment: “I was very tired. But when I saw the view, I felt great joy. All the wonder of America seemed displayed there, with the sea-like expanse.”

Bates wrote a poem from that experience, which was first published on July 4, 1895, in The Congregationalist. The poem was set to music a few months later by Silas G. Pratt, and by 1900, more than 75 musical versions existed. 

It was Samuel Ward’s 1882 “Materna” hymn, however, that has stood the test of time and is the tune Americans recognize and sing today. The lyrics also have changed, though Bates has always been the author. She updated them in 1904 and again, for the final time, in 1911.

Click here to read the original poem

O beautiful for halcyon skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the enameled plain!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
Till souls wax fair as earth and air
And music-hearted sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern, impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
Till paths be wrought through wilds of thought
By pilgrim foot and knee!

O beautiful for glory-tale
Of liberating strife,
When once or twice, for man’s avail,
Men lavished precious life!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
Till selfish gain no longer stain,
The banner of the free!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
Till nobler men keep once again
Thy whiter jubilee!

musical notes
Graphic of Watercolor Mountains

Print a copy of the song lyrics and
also Bates’ original poem.

Image America the Beautiful Lyrics Printable

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Graphic Declaration of Independence Text

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Comments

  • Please do more things like this! It works great for putting in a memory work binder! I love it!

  • We started the NEW TGATB MATH 2 and are on lesson 2 today. It is challenging and fun. I know my daughter is already learning a lot. Today we were able to open the wooden math box and play a game. She said, “ I like these games!” She seems to understand the way place value is presented in this program better than last years program which was a different program.

  • Richard Noar

    On December 7, 1941, eighty years ago, every American sang this song with tears in their eyes, prayers in their hearts and fire in their veins!

  • Laura

    I loved the story of the song given below but tbh, I didn’t scroll down to see it at first and I was dismayed to see that below the title of the song it says it was “Written By: The Good and the Beautiful Published On: July 02, 2021.” This needs to be changed!

    • Customer Support

      Thank you for your feedback, Laura! The blog post was written by The Good and the Beautiful and was published on July 2, 2021. The lyrics and original poem are credited to Katharine Lee Bates (as the writer) and Samuel Ward for the melody in the blog post and on the free download. We hope the story of the song found in the blog and the free download is helpful for your family!

  • Stevie

    Hi! Thank you for publishing this 🙂 I didn’t know I needed it and what a great thought in these trying times 🙂 It invoked visions of a flash mob suddenly gathering at the base of the Statue of Liberty singing their hearts out! All walks of life, the epitome of America, come together under the banner of one song, their loud and clear voices ringing out triumphantly across the bay! 🙂 An example of true American patriotism shining through, as we all embrace each other in acceptance and acknowledgment of each others’ struggles. It moved me to tears:)