The Statue of Liberty conveys its message of freedom through a number of dramatic symbols. The broken shackles at her feet signify escape from tyranny. In her left arm, she holds a tablet of law inscribed in Roman numerals the date of the American Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776. Her crown's seven rays suggest the seven seas and seven continents. Most significant of all, however, her torch and flame symbolize truth and justice enlightening the world. Perhaps no poem brings these symbols to life more than "The New Colossus," a sonnet written by Emma Lazarus in 1883 as an attempt to raise funds for the pedestal's completion.
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The New Colossus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land,
Here at our sea-washed, sunset-gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome, her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she,
With silent lips, "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"