Der freie Mann, Earlier version (1794)
It's very clear why this text appealed to Beethoven. One may even say it expresses one of his basic beliefs: the right of individuals to be free, and take destiny in their own hands.
Interestingly the opening of the song is somewhat similar to the opening of Schubert's 9th Symphony, which is also in C major. Of course, this can be just a coincidence, but perhaps Schubert knew this song and was subconsciously refering to it. That would put a new light on Schubert's "Heavenly Long Symphony".
Wer, wer ist ein freier Mann? Der, dem nur eigner Wille, und kein Zwinghernn Grille Gesetze geben kann, der ist ein freier Mann! Gottlieb Conrad Pfeffel Who, who is a free man? He, who according to his own will, against any tyrant's whims, can set the rules, that is a free man!