Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.
Robert Frost (18741963)
The land was ours before we were the lands. She was our land more than a hundred years Before we were her people. She was ours In 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 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, The Gift Outright, The Poetry of Robert Frost, ed. Edward C. Lathem, p. 348 (1967).
Frost read this poem at President John F. Kennedys inauguration, January 20, 1961.