Saturday, June 06, 2009


Thoughts are Free

Thomas Traherne, Thoughts I.VI:
        The eye's confined, the body's pent
In narrow room: limbs are of small extent,
            But thoughts are always free;
                And as they're best
        So can they even in the breast
        Rove o'er the world with liberty:
        Can enter ages, present be
In any kingdom, into bosoms see.
        Thoughts, thoughts can come to things and view
        What bodies can't approach unto:
They know no bar, denial, limit, wall,
But have a liberty to look on all.
Charles Dickens, Nicholas Nickleby, chap. XI:
'I think of a great many things. Nobody can prevent that.'

'Oh yes, I understand you, Mr Noggs,' said Mrs Nickleby. 'Our thoughts are free, of course. Everybody's thoughts are their own, clearly.'

'They wouldn't be, if some people had their way,' muttered Newman.
German folk song (loosely translated by Arthur Kevess):
Die Gedanken sind frei, my thoughts freely flower,
Die Gedanken sind frei, my thoughts give me power.
No scholar can map them, no hunter can trap them,
No man can deny: Die Gedanken sind frei!

So I think as I please, and this gives me pleasure,
My conscience decrees this right I must treasure;
My thoughts will not cater to duke or dictator,
No man can deny: Die Gedanken sind frei!

And if tyrants take me, and throw me in prison,
My thoughts will burst free like blossoms in season.
Foundations will crumble, the structure will tumble,
And free men will cry: Die Gedanken sind frei!
Die Gedanken sind frei, wer kann sie erraten,
sie fliegen vorbei wie nächtliche Schatten.
Kein Mensch kann sie wissen, kein Jäger erschießen
mit Pulver und Blei, Die Gedanken sind frei!

Ich denke was ich will und was mich beglücket,
doch alles in der Still', und wie es sich schicket.
Mein Wunsch und Begehren kann niemand mir wehren,
es bleibet dabei: Die Gedanken sind frei!

Und sperrt man mich ein im finsteren Kerker,
das alles sind rein vergebliche Werke.
Denn meine Gedanken zerreißen die Schranken
und Mauern entzwei, die Gedanken sind frei!

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