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By the Waters of Babylon [V. Currents] by Emma Lazarus | Poets.org

By the Waters of Babylon [V. Currents]

by Emma Lazarus

 

1. Vast oceanic movements, the flux and reflux of immeasurable tides, oversweep our continent.

 

2. From the far Caucasian steppes, from the squalid Ghettos of Europe,

 

3. From Odessa and Bucharest, from Kief and Ekaterinoslav,

 

4. Hark to the cry of the exiles of Babylon, the voice of Rachel mourning for her children, of Israel lamenting for Zion.

 

5. And lo, like a turbid stream, the long-pent flood bursts the dykes of oppression and rushes hitherward.

 

6. Unto her ample breast, the generous mother of nations welcomes them.

 

7. The herdsman of Canaan and the seed of Jerusalem's royal shepherd renew their youth amid the pastoral plains of Texas and the golden valleys of the Sierras.

 

The descendant of Sephardic Jews originally from Portugal, Emma Lazarus was born in New York City on July 22, 1849. She is best known for her poem "The New Colossus," which appears on a bronze plaque on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. Lazarus died in 1887.

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