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The Devil's Dictionary

by Ambrose Bierce
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FREEMASONS

FREEDOM

-n.

Exemption from the stress of authority in a beggarly half dozen of restraint's infinite multitude of methods. A political condition that every nation supposes itself to enjoy in virtual monopoly. Liberty. The distinction between freedom and liberty is not accurately known; naturalists have never been able to find a living specimen of either.

 Freedom, as every schoolboy knows,
Once shrieked as Kosciusko fell;
On every wind, indeed, that blows
I hear her yell.
 She screams whenever monarchs meet,
And parliaments as well,
To bind the chains about her feet
And toll her knell.
 And when the sovereign people cast
The votes they cannot spell,
Upon the pestilential blast
Her clamors swell.
 For all to whom the power's given
To sway or to compel,
Among themselves apportion Heaven
And give her Hell.

- Blary O'Gary