On Freedom – Emerson and Douglass

On Freedom

Once I wished I might rehearse
Freedom’s paean in my verse,
That the slave who caught the strain
Should throb until he snapt his chain.
But the Spirit said, “Not so;
Speak it not, or speak it low;
Name not lightly to be said,
Gift too precious to be prayed,
Passion not to be exprest
But by heaving of the breast;
Yet,—would’st thou the mountain find
Where this deity is shrined,
Who gives the seas and sunset-skies
Their unspent beauty of surprise,
And, when it lists him, waken can
Brute and savage into man;
Or, if in thy heart he shine,
Blends the starry fates with thine,
Draws angels nigh to dwell with thee,
And makes thy thought archangels be;
Freedom’s secret would’st thou know?—
Right thou feelest rashly do.
–Ralph Waldo Emerson