The Song of the Free
The wounded snake its hood unfurls,
The flame stirred up doth blaze,
The desert air resounds the calls
Of heart-struck lion's rage.
The cloud puts forth it deluge strength
When lightning cleaves its breast,
When the soul is stirred to its in most depth
Great ones unfold their best.
Let eyes grow dim and heart grow faint,
And friendship fail and love betray,
Let Fate its hundred horrors send,
And clotted darkness block the way.
All nature wear one angry frown,
To crush you out - still know, my soul,
You are Divine. March on and on,
Nor right nor left but to the goal.
Nor angel I, nor man, nor brute,
Nor body, mind, nor he nor she,
The books do stop in wonder mute
To tell my nature; I am He.
Before the sun, the moon, the earth,
Before the stars or comets free,
Before e'en time has had its birth,
I was, I am, and I will be.
The beauteous earth, the glorious sun,
The calm sweet moon, the spangled sky,
Causation's law do make them run;
They live in bonds, in bonds they die.
And mind its mantle dreamy net
Cast o'er them all and holds them fast.
In warp and woof of thought are set,
Earth, hells, and heavens, or worst or best.
Know these are but the outer crust -
All space and time, all effect, cause.
I am beyond all sense, all thoughts,
The witness of the universe.
Not two nor many, 'tis but one,
And thus in me all me's I have;
I cannot hate, I cannot shun
Myself from me, I can but love.
From dreams awake, from bonds be free,
Be not afraid. This mystery,
My shadow, cannot frighten me,
Know once for all that I am He.
— Swami Vivekananda
This poem is an excerpt from a letter written by Swami Vivekananda from New York to Mary Hale on 15th February 1895.
The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, Volume 8, pg 162, An Interesting Correspondence.