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Emma Goldman's Tribute to Voltarine de Clyre

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air is fever and fire, 'breath this': - I would learn: I cannot learn in the empty fields; temples are here, - stay.' And when my poor, stifled lungs have panted till it seemed my chest must burst, the soul has said, 'I will allow you then, and hour or two; we will ride, and I will take my book and read meanwhile.'

And when my eyes have cried out the tears of pain for the brief visions of freedom drifting by, only for leave to look at the great green and blue an hour, after the long, dull-red horror of walls, the soul has said, 'I cannot waste the time altogether: I must know I read.' And when my ears have plead for the singing of the crickets and the music of the night, the soul has answered, 'No, gongs and whistles and shrieks are unpleasant if you listen; but school yourself to hearken to the spiritual voice, and it will not matter...'

When I have looked upon my kind, and longed to embrace them, hungered wildly for the press of arms and lips, the soul has commanded sternly, 'cease, wild creature of fleshly lusts! Eternal reproach! Will you for ever shame me with your beastliness?'

And I have always yielded, mute, joyless, fettered, I have trod the world of the soul's choosing... Now I am broken before my time: bloodless, sleepless, breathless, - half blind, racked at every joint, trembling with every leaf.'

Yet though racked and wrecked, her life empty of the music, the glory of the sky and sun, and her body rose in daily revolt against the tyrannical maser, it was Voltairine's soul that conquered --- the Dominant Idea

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which gave her strength to go on and on to the last.

Voltairine de Cleyre was born in Nov. 17, 1866, in the town of Leslie, Michigan. Her ancestry on her father's side was French-American, on her mother's Puritan stock. She came to her revolutionary tendencies by inheritance, both her grand-father and father having been imbued with the ideas of the Revolution of 1848. But while her grand-father remained true to the early influences, even in the late life helping in the underground railroad for fugitive slaves, her father, August de Cleyre, who had begun as a freethinker and Communist, in later life returned to the fold of the Catholic Church and became as passionate a devotee of it, as he had been against it in his younger days. So great had been his free thought zeal that when his daughter was born he named her Voltairine. But when he recanted, he became obsessed by the notion that his daughter must become a nun. A contributory factor may also have been the poverty of the de Cleyres, as the result of which the early years of little Voltairine were anything

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