'Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.'
In 1644 at the height of the English Civil War, John Milton penned Areopagitica, which is now known as one of history’s first impassioned defences to freedom of expression. Ironically, Milton never delivered this argument verbally, however there was no need, the message was clear; to allow freedom of speech in written form. John Milton may have been more concerned about religion and less with the politics of war; unfortunately, history has seen these two go hand in hand.
Thanks to John Milton, and all who followed and fought for the right to freedom of expression. Thank you to all who exercise this right and provide the poetry, novels and the daily news which combined help to map out our history.
By John Milton
Fly, envious Time, till thou run out thy race,
Call on the lazy leaden-stepping hours,
Whose speed is but the heavy plummet's pace;
And glut thyself with what thy womb devours,
Which is no more than what is false and vain,
And merely mortal dross;
So little is our loss,
So little is thy gain.
For when as each thing bad thou hast intombed,
And last of all thy greedy self consumed,
Then long Eternity shall greet our bliss
With an individual kiss,
And Joy shall overtake us as a flood;
When every thing that is sincerely good
And perfectly divine,
With truth, and peace, and love, shall ever shine
About the supreme throne
Of Him, t' whose happy-making sight alone
When once our heav'nly-guided soul shall climb,
Then, all this earthly grossness quit,
Attired with stars, we shall for ever sit,
Triumphing over Death, and Chance, and thee, O Time.