On Being A Revolutionary: Two Sonnets
Shall I speak a Truth and say that repeatedly seeing these Dances
has worn off a Disgust?
Not a single Idea has coloured my mind this month—
All is bright and luminous.
Liberty has been compelled to skulk about in Corners of the Earth.
I was not sent into this World to spend my days in Diversions and Pleasures.
The laws can be lenient, and so few in number, that all men, of whatever character,
can easily observe them.
Admire and adore the Author of this telescopic universe.
I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory.
Annihilate forever what may one day destroy your work . . .
Do I dream? Have I dreamed?
For there is a Physical quality in Us
resembling the Power of Electricity.
It was winter, I scarcely saw a possibility of surviving.
Let this nation be purified in the furnace of affliction.
Have I not been employed in mischief all my days?
(This paragraph has been the creed of my whole life.)
At the entrance to a secluded wood:
Here it is that man likes to surround himself with slaves.
O you who have axes ready to hand, deal the final blow,
who can serve kings must adore gods.
The extermination of cults is among the principles we broadcast;
There is in every mind some Spice or Degree of Madness.
Crime is every day committed at the foot of the scaffold.
The injuries we can work against our brothers may be reduced to four: calumny,
theft, impurity, and murder;
The transgressions incompatible with approved behavior are prostitution,
incest, rape, and sodomy.
All sexes, all ages, will be offered the caprices of libertines.
He who has the right to eat the fruit of the tree may assuredly pluck it ripe or green,
For wild colts make the best horses.
The people of Chile lie indifferently with their sisters, their daughters.
The time has come to sum up.
I grant you pardon, but I also pardon whoever will kill you.
Catch a glance at those wretches in yonder wood;
Let it not be said that I contradict myself here.
Is there any conceivable infamy we are not worthy to execute?
 From selected writings of John Adams, as quoted in John Adams: Party of One, by James Grant, and from “Yet Another Effort, Frenchman, If You Would Become Republicans,” by the Marquis de Sade, translate by Richard Seaver and Austryn Wainhouse.