Online Library of Liberty

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Quotations about Liberty and Power Literature & Music

Gustave de Beaumont and Irish liberty (1839) Gustave de Beaumont 2013-02-11
Milton on Eve’s discovery of the benefits of the division of labor in the Garden of Eden (1667) John Milton 2012-07-02
Shakespeare on sweet love remembered (1609) William Shakespeare 2012-01-30
Bach asks God “when will I die”? (1700) Johann Sebastian Bach 2012-01-09
Thierry on the need for songs about our lost liberties which will act as a barrier to encroaching power (1845) Augustin Thierry 2010-02-22
On Achilles' new shield Vulcan depicts the two different types of cities which humans can build on earth; one based on peace and the rule of law; the other based on war, killing, and pillage (900 BC) Homer 2010-02-11
Beethoven’s hero Florestan in the opera Fidelio laments the loss of his liberty for speaking the truth to power (1805) Ludwig van Beethoven 2009-07-06
Voltaire in Candide says that “tending one’s own garden” is not only a private activity but also productive (1759) Voltaire 2009-06-08
Augustin Thierry relates the heroic tale of the Kentishmen who defeat William the Conqueror and so are able to keep their ancient laws and liberties (1856) Augustin Thierry 2009-06-01
Confucius edited this collection of poems which contains a poem about “Yellow Birds” who ravenously eat the crops of the local people, thus alienating them completely (520 BC) Confucius 2008-05-12
Shakespeare has King Henry IV reflect on the reasons for invading the Holy Land, namely to distract people from domestic civil war and to “march all one way” under his banner (1597) William Shakespeare 2008-03-24
J.S. Bach and Martin Luther on how God (the “feste Burg”) helps us gain our freedom (1730) Johann Sebastian Bach 2007-12-03
Percy Bysshe Shelley on the new Constitution of Naples which he hoped would be “as a mirror to make … blind slaves see” (1820) Percy Bysshe Shelley 2007-10-08
Shakespeare in Pericles on how the rich and powerful are like whales who eat up the harding working “little fish” (1608) William Shakespeare 2006-11-13
In Measure for Measure Shakespeare has Isabella denounce the Duke’s deputy for being corrupted by power, “it is excellent To have a giant’s strength, but it is tyrannous To use it like a giant” (1623) William Shakespeare 2006-10-16
In Percy Shelley’s poem Liberty liberty is compared to a force of nature sweeping the globe, where “tyrants and slaves are like shadows of night” which will disappear in “the van of the morning light” (1824) Percy Bysshe Shelley 2006-07-17
In Shakespeare’s The Tempest Caliban complains about the way the European lord Prospero taught him language and science then enslaved him and dispossessed him of the island on which he was born (1611) William Shakespeare 2006-06-12
In Shakespeare’s Henry V the king is too easily persuaded by his advisors that the English economy will continue to function smoothly, like obedient little honey-bees in their hive, while he is away with his armies conquering France (1598) William Shakespeare 2006-05-29
In Shakespeare’s Henry V the soldier Williams confronts the king by saying that “few die well that die in a battle” and that “a heavy reckoning” awaits the king that led them to it (1598) William Shakespeare 2006-05-22
Aeschylus has Prometheus denounce the lord of heaven for unjustly punishing him for giving mankind the gift of fire (5thC BC) Aeschylus 2005-10-24
John Milton in Paradise Regained has Christ deplore the “false glory” which comes from military conquest and the despoiling of nations in battle (1671) John Milton 2005-10-17
With the return of spring the memories of Petrarch’s beloved Laura awaken a new pang in him (late 14thC) Francesco Petrarch 2005-05-16
In Joseph Addison’s play Cato Cato is asked what it would take for him to be Caesar’s “friend” - his answer is that Caesar would have to first “disband his legions” and then “restore the commonwealth to liberty” (1713) Joseph Addison 2005-02-28
During the American Revolution Thomas Paine penned a patriotic song called “Hail Great Republic” which is to be sung to the tune of Rule Britannia (of course!) (1776) Thomas Paine 2004-12-13
Shakespeare farewells his lover in a Sonnet using many mercantile and legal metaphors (1609) William Shakespeare 2004-10-11

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