The land was ours before we were the lands. She was our land more than a hundred yearsBefore we were her people. She was oursIn Massachusetts, in Virginia,But we were Englands, still colonials,Possessing what we still were unpossessed by,Possessed by what we now no more possessed. Something we were withholding made us weakUntil we found out that it was ourselvesWe were withholding from our land of living,And forthwith found salvation in surrender. Such as we were we gave ourselves outrightTo the land vaguely realizing westward,But still unstoried, artless, unenhanced,Such as she was, such as she would become.
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Source Notes: Source: ROBERT FROST, The Gift Outright, The Poetry of Robert Frost, ed. Edward C. Lathem, p. 348 .Frost read this poem at President John F. Kennedys inauguration, January 20, 1961.
Robert Lee Frost (March 26, 1874 January 29, 1963) was an American poet. Frost received four Pulitzer Prizes.