Words: , 1832.

Music: America, The­saur­us Mu­sic­us, 1744.

These words were born be­cause Smith’s friend, , could not read Ger­man. Ma­son had re­ceived sev­er­al Ger­man hymn­als, and sent them to Smith, who he knew un­der­stood Ger­man. In one of them, Smith ran across the tune now used for My Count­ry ’Tis of Thee. No­ting that the Ger­man words were pa­tri­o­tic in na­ture:

I in­stant­ly felt the im­pulse to write a pa­tri­o­tic hymn of my own, adapt­ed to the tune. Pick­ing up a scrap of waste pa­per which lay near me, I wrote at once, prob­ab­ly with­in half an hour, the hymn ‘Amer­i­ca’ as it is now known ev­ery­where. The whole hymn stands to­day as it stood on the bit of waste paper.

Dr. Smith vis­it­ed the Board of Trade in Chi­ca­go [Il­li­nois] in May of 1887. While sit­ting in the gal­lery he was point­ed out to the some of the mem­bers. Soon he be­came the cen­ter of con­sid­er­a­ble no­tice. All at once the trad­ing on the floor ceased, and from the wheat-pit came the fa­mil­iar words, “My count­ry ’tis of thee.” Af­ter two stan­zas had been sung, Dr. Smith arose and bowed. A rous­ing cheer was giv­en by the men on the floor, to which Dr. Smith was now es­cort­ed by the sec­re­ta­ry of the Board. The mem­bers flocked around Dr. Smith and grasped his hand. Then they opened a pass­age through the crowd and led him to the wheat-pit, where they took off their hats and sang the rest of the hymn.

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 mountainside,
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,
To Thee we sing;
Long may our land be bright
With freedom’s holy light;
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God, our King.