One bleak day in February, 1832 a young theological student sat in his room at Andover Seminary. Samuel F. Smith was going over a stack of German songs for children, given to him by a friend, the composer Lowell Mason. Sunset shadows crept into the room and Smith was tired from a strenuous day of study. He was relieved to spend a few relaxed moments going over his friend’s music. As he hummed over one after another, one struck his fancy. He glanced at the words at the bottom of the page and his knowledge of German told him that the words were patriotic, but they did not appeal to him. He decided to write his own words. He searched around on his desk until he found a scrap of paper, about five or six inches long and two and one half inches wide. On this, as he tapped out the rhythm of the music, he began to write, My country, ’tis of…
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