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Emma Lazarus
Emma Lazarus
Posthumously famous for her sonnet, "The New Colossus," which is engraved on the base of the Statue of Liberty, Emma Lazarus is considered America's first important Jewish poet...
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Critic and Poet

 
by Emma Lazarus

An Apologue

No man had ever heard a nightingale,
When once a keen-eyed naturalist was stirred
To study and define--what is a bird,
To classify by rote and book, nor fail
To mark its structure and to note the scale
Whereon its song might possibly be heard.
Thus far, no farther;--so he spake the word.
When of a sudden,--hark, the nightingale!

Oh deeper, higher than he could divine
That all-unearthly, untaught strain! He saw
The plain, brown warbler, unabashed. "Not mine"
(He cried) "the error of this fatal flaw.
No bird is this, it soars beyond my line,
Were it a bird, 'twould answer to my law."



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