William Shakespeare :
This blessèd plot, this earth, this realm, this England
This nurse, this teeming womb of royal kings,
. . .
This land of such dear souls, this dear dear land.
[William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Contrasting England as "This other Eden" with its present state of degeneration, "leased out ... like to a tenement or pelting farm." John of Gaunt, in Richard II, act 2, sc. 1.]
William Blake :
I traveld thro' a Land of Men
A Land of Men & Women too,
And heard & saw such dreadful things
As cold Earth wanderers never knew.
[William Blake (1757-1827), British poet, painter, mystic. The Mental Traveller (l. 1-4). . .
The Complete Poems [William Blake]. Alicia Ostriker, ed. (1977) Penguin Books.]
Henry David Thoreau :
When the committee from Plymouth had purchased the territory of Eastham of the Indians, "it was demanded, who laid claim to Billingsgate?" which was understood to be all that part of the Cape north of what they had purchased. "The answer was, there was not any who owned it. 'Then,' said the committee, 'that land is ours.' The Indians answered, that it was." This was a remarkable assertion and admission. The Pilgrims appear to have regarded themselves as Not Any's representatives. Perhaps this was the first instance of that quiet way of "speaking for" a place not yet occupied, or at least not improved as much as it may be, which their descendants have practiced, and are still practicing so extensively. Not Any seems to have been the sole proprietor of all America before the Yankees. But history says, that when the Pilgrims had held the lands of Billingsgate many years, at length, "appeared an Indian, who styled himself Lieutenant Anthony," who laid claim to them, and of him they bought them. Who knows but a Lieutenant Anthony may be knocking at the door of the White House some day? At any rate, I know that if you hold a thing unjustly, there will surely be the devil to pay at last.
[Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Cape Cod (1855-1865), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 4, p. 43, Houghton Mifflin (1906).]
John Crowe Ransom :
Tawny are the leaves turned, but they still hold.
It is the harvest; what shall this land produce?
A meager hill of kernels, a runnel of juice.
Declension looks from our land, it is old.
[John Crowe Ransom (1888-1974), U.S. poet. Antique Harvesters (l. 1-4). . .
Oxford Book of American Verse, The. F. O. Matthiessen, ed. (1950) Oxford University Press.]
Samuel Francis Smith :
My country, 'tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims' pride,
From every mountain-side
Let freedom ring!
[Samuel Francis Smith (1808-1895), U.S. poet. America (l. 1-7). . .
Anthology of American Poetry. George Gesner, ed. (1983) Avenel Books.]
Lord Chatham, William Pitt, The Elder :
If I were an American, as I am an Englishman, while a foreign troop was landed in my country, I never would lay down my armsnevernevernever!
[William Pitt, The Elder, Lord Chatham (1708-1778), British statesman. Address to House of Lords, November 18, 1777.]
Barbara Ehrenreich :
Heads of state are notoriously ill prepared for their mature careers; think of Adolf Hitler (landscape painter), Ho Chi Minh (seaman), and our own Ronald Reagan.
[Barbara Ehrenreich (b. 1941), U.S. author, columnist. First published in Ms. (1986). "Premature Pragmatism," The Worst Years of Our Lives (1991).]
Ralph Waldo Emerson :
The first farmer was the first man, and all historic nobility rests on possession and use of land.
[Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Farming," Society and Solitude (1870).]
Herman Melville :
Let America first praise mediocrity even, in her children, before she praises ... the best excellence in the children of any other land.
[Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. "Hawthorne And His Mosses," Literary World (August 17-24, 1850).]
John Masefield :
It's a fine land, the west land, for hearts as tired as mine,
Apple orchards blossom there, and the air's like wine.
[John Masefield (1878-1967), British poet. The West Wind (l. 5-6). . .
Modern American & British Poetry. Louis Untermeyer, ed., in consultation with Karl Shapiro and Richard Wilbur. (Rev., shorter ed., 1955) Harcourt, Brace and Company.]