Recently, a writer wrote that the inscription on the base of the Statue of Liberty was idealistic and not in accordance with present times. He especially questioned the part, "the wretched refuse of your teaming [sic. teeming] shore". I want to defend what I interpret to be the true meaning of these words and the timelessness of the poem. Emma Lazarus with poetic license was not saying. "the despicable trash of your swarming shore", but rather, "the unhappy rejected of your abounding (crowded) shore". Back in 1883 when the poem was written, some words may have had different interpretations than they do today. I am sure Emma Lazarus wanted her words to be more akin to the meaning I find within when I read the poem than to some other base interpretation. Subscript (definitions):
Huddled: crowded as from cold or fear. nestled, snuggled.
Wretched: profound unhappiness, unhappy person, sad, attended by woes, despicable.
Teeming (vs., teaming): abounding in, swarming with, prolific, fertile.
Refuse: rejected, discarded, trash, rubbish.
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