The Works of Voltaire: A Contemporary Version [Introduction; Candide; Political Dissertations] - Vol. 1

By William F. Fleming; Voltaire | Go to book overview

ON LIBERTY.

IN TRANSIENT life, which some few years comprise,
If happiness must be true wisdom's prize,
Who shall to me this sacred treasure send,
Does it upon myself or heaven depend ?
Is it like wit, like beauty, and high birth,
A lot which prudence can't acquire on earth?
Say, am I free, or do my limbs and soul
Some other agent's secret springs control?
Is will which ever hurries me away,
Slave to the soul, or bears she sovereign sway ?
Plunged in this doubt, and hopeless of relief,
I raised to heaven my eyes obscured with grief.
A spirit then to whom the God is known,
Who holds his place by the Almighty's throne,
Who still attends him, burns with constant flame,
From the high heavens celestial envoy came;
For oft propitiously those sons of light
Illume the soul obscured by error's night.
And fly the doctor's supercilious pride,
Who does in his professor's chair confide;
Who quite elate, and of his system vain,
Mistakes for truth the phantom of his brain.

-288-

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