Of old sat Freedom on the heights,
The thunders breaking at her feet:
Above her shook the starry lights:
She heard the torrents meet.
There in her place she did rejoice,
Self-gather’d in her prophet-mind,
But fragments of her mighty voice
Came rolling on the wind.
Then stept she down thro’ town and field
To mingle with the human race,
And part by part to men reveal’d
The fullness of her face –
Grave mother of majestic works,
From her isle-alter gazing down,
Who, God-like, grasps the triple forks,
And, King-like, wears the crown:
Her open eyes desire the truth.
The wisdom of a thousand years
Is in them. May perpetual youth
Keep dry their light from tears;
That her fair form may stand and shine
Make bright our days and light our dreams,
Turning to scorn with lips divine
The falsehood of extremes!
6 thoughts on “Freedom by Alfred Lord Tennyson”
Please, what is the poem FREEDOM talking about?
“The poet speaks of freedom as a woman who first kept her powerful knowledge apart from people, but then chose to bring it down from her heights to everyone who would take it. But the poet insists that with freedom, must come the love of truth and moderation that avoids extremes, qualities the woman also represents.”
In the 1960s I attended an all girls’ state school in North Staffordshire,
which had opened in 1938, just a year before the outbreak of World War 2, which makes school the motto ‘My open eyes desire the truth’ somewhat poignant. Alas, we were never told who chose these words or where they cam from. I only discovered that I had Tennyson to thank for what I believe to be the wisest school motto I have seen, when I searched for the origin while writing a poem for he 100th birthday of my very wise and kind history teacher. I love the poem and wish that all those entering politics should read and understand it.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thank you for your lovely and interesting thoughts, Judith.
Unfortunately, the truth is an inconvenience for a lot of politicians.