Anthem by Ayn Rand

no mission to walk there. Each night, we

run to the ravine, and we remove the

stones which we have piled upon the iron

grill to hide it from the men. Each night, for

three hours, we are under the earth, alone.

We have stolen candles from the Home

of the Street Sweepers, we have stolen flints

and knives and paper, and we have brought

them to this place. We have stolen glass

vials and powders and acids from the Home

of the Scholars. Now we sit in the tunnel

for three hours each night and we study.

We melt strange metals, and we mix acids,

and we cut open the bodies of the animals

which we find in the City Cesspool. We have

built an oven of the bricks we gathered

in the streets. We burn the wood we find

in the ravine. The fire flickers in the

oven and blue shadows dance upon the walls,

and there is no sound of men to disturb us.

We have stolen manuscripts. This is a

great offense. Manuscripts are precious,

for our brothers in the Home of the Clerks

spend one year to copy one single script

in their clear handwriting. Manuscripts are

rare and they are kept in the Home of the

Scholars. So we sit under the earth and

we read the stolen scripts. Two years have

passed since we found this place. And in

these two years we have learned more than

we had learned in the ten years of the

Home of the Students.

We have learned things which are not

in the scripts. We have solved secrets of

which the Scholars have no knowledge.

We have come to see how great is the

unexplored, and many lifetimes will not

bring us to the end of our quest. But we

wish no end to our quest. We wish nothing,

save to be alone and to learn, and to

feel as if with each day our sight were

growing sharper than the hawk’s and clearer

than rock crystal.

Strange are the ways of evil. We are

false in the faces of our brothers.

We are defying the will of our Councils.

We alone, of the thousands who walk this

earth, we alone in this hour are doing a

work which has no purpose save that we

wish to do it. The evil of our crime

is not for the human mind to probe. The

nature of our punishment, if it be discovered,

is not for the human heart to ponder.

Never, not in the memory of the Ancient

Ones’ Ancients, never have men done that

which we are doing.

And yet there is no shame in us and no regret.

We say to ourselves that we are a wretch and a traitor.

But we feel no burden upon our spirit and no fear in our heart.

And it seems to us that our spirit is clear as a lake

troubled by no eyes save those of the sun. And in our heart–

strange are the ways of evil!–in our heart there is

the first peace we have known in twenty years.


Liberty 5-3000 . . . Liberty five-three thousand

. . . Liberty 5-3000 . . . .

We wish to write this name. We wish to speak it,

but we dare not speak it above a whisper.

For men are forbidden to take notice of women,

and women are forbidden to take notice of men.

But we think of one among women, they whose name

is Liberty 5-3000, and we think of no others.

The women who have been assigned to work

the soil live in the Homes of the Peasants

beyond the City. Where the City ends

there is a great road winding off to the

north, and we Street Sweepers must keep

this road clean to the first milepost.

There is a hedge along the road, and beyond the

hedge lie the fields. The fields are black

and ploughed, and they lie like a great

fan before us, with their furrows gathered

in some hand beyond the sky, spreading

forth from that hand, opening wide apart

as they come toward us, like black pleats

that sparkle with thin, green spangles.

Women work in the fields, and their white

tunics in the wind are like the wings of

sea-gulls beating over the black soil.

And there it was that we saw Liberty

5-3000 walking along the furrows. Their

body was straight and thin as a blade of

iron. Their eyes were dark and hard and

glowing, with no fear in them, no kindness

and no guilt. Their hair was golden as the

sun; their hair flew in the wind, shining

and wild, as if it defied men to restrain it.

They threw seeds from their hand as if

they deigned to fling a scornful gift,

and the earth was a beggar under their feet.

We stood still; for the first time did we

know fear, and then pain. And we stood

still that we might not spill this pain more

precious than pleasure.

Then we heard a voice from the others

call their name: “Liberty 5-3000,” and they

turned and walked back. Thus we learned

their name, and we stood watching them go,

till their white tunic was lost in the blue mist.

And the following day, as we came to the

northern road, we kept our eyes upon

Liberty 5-3000 in the field. And each day

thereafter we knew the illness of waiting

for our hour on the northern road. And

there we looked at Liberty 5-3000 each day.

We know not whether they looked at

us also, but we think they did.

Then one day they came close to the

hedge, and suddenly they turned to us.

They turned in a whirl and the movement

of their body stopped, as if slashed off,

as suddenly as it had started. They stood

still as a stone, and they looked straight

upon us, straight into our eyes. There was

no smile on their face, and no welcome.

But their face was taut, and their eyes

were dark. Then they turned as swiftly,

and they walked away from us.

But the following day, when we came to

the road, they smiled. They smiled to us

and for us. And we smiled in answer.

Their head fell back, and their arms fell,

as if their arms and their thin white neck

were stricken suddenly with a great lassitude.

They were not looking upon us, but upon the sky.

Then they glanced at us over their shoulder,

as we felt as if a hand had touched our body,

slipping softly from our lips to our feet.

Every morning thereafter, we greeted each

other with our eyes. We dared not speak.

It is a transgression to speak to men of other

Trades, save in groups at the Social Meetings.

But once, standing at the hedge,

we raised our hand to our forehead

and then moved it slowly, palm down,

toward Liberty 5-3000. Had the others seen

it, they could have guessed nothing, for it

looked only as if we were shading our eyes

from the sun. But Liberty 5-3000 saw it

and understood. They raised their hand to

their forehead and moved it as we had.

Thus, each day, we greet Liberty 5-3000,

and they answer, and no men can suspect.

We do not wonder at this new sin of ours.

It is our second Transgression of Preference,

for we do not think of all our brothers,

as we must, but only of one, and their name

is Liberty 5-3000. We do not know why

we think of them. We do not know why,

when we think of them, we feel all of

a sudden that the earth is good and

that it is not a burden to live.

We do not think of them as Liberty

5-3000 any longer. We have given them a

name in our thoughts. We call them the

Golden One. But it is a sin to give men

names which distinguish them from other

men. Yet we call them the Golden One,

for they are not like the others.

The Golden One are not like the others.

And we take no heed of the law which

says that men may not think of women,

save at the Time of Mating. This is the

time each spring when all the men older

than twenty and all the women older than

eighteen are sent for one night to the City

Palace of Mating. And each of the men

have one of the women assigned to them

by the Council of Eugenics. Children are

born each winter, but women never see

their children and children never know

their parents. Twice have we been sent to

the Palace of Mating, but it is an ugly and

shameful matter, of which we do not like to think.

We had broken so many laws, and today

we have broken one more. Today, we

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Categories: Rand, Ayn