The Free Man

The free man can no prison restrain,

not by violence, nor by sword,

nor by shackles or commanding word;

when things are fallen and away they wane,

he stands, a tree stalwart and stark,

and, falling, takes down his oppressor dark.


He only is a free man who, in the midst of life’s troubles

and the fleeting fashions of the day,

wisely seeks and finds his true way;

the powers of the world turn him not to roubles,

nor can him enslave the force of crowds,

lonesome he treads the starless night of clouds.


And truly free is he who, looking death in the face,

calmly states: “Die I may, yet will not be foiled

all that for which I worked and toiled.”

Why not welcome a gentle death, when a grace,

a garland of honour it is to hero’s might

driven by true faith and what is right.


Eino Leino, Tähtitarha 1910

Translated by Partow Izadi