"The land was ours before we were the land's."
- from 'The Gift Outright', A Witness Tree (1942)
- Robert Frost (American poet, b. 1874 - d. 1963)
Text of poem: The Gift Outright
The land was ours before we were the land's.
She was our land more than a hundred years
Before we were her people. She was ours
In Massachusetts, in Virginia.
But we were England's, still colonials,
Possessing what we still were unpossessed by,
Possessed by what we now no more possessed.
Something we were withholding made us weak.
Until we found out that it was ourselves
We were withholding from our land of living,
And forthwith found salvation in surrender.
Such as we were we gave ourselves outright
(The deed of gift was many deeds of war)
To the land vaguely realizing westward,
But still unstoried, artless, unenhanced,
Such as she was, such as she would become.
- Robert Frost
Glossary of Quotations (Quotes), Proverbs, Phrases, and Sayings: Age and Time, America, Geography and Place Names, Land, Property and Possessions, War and Battle, Weakness and Cowardice