Tuesday, April 26, 2011

England 1819 - Percy Bysshe Shelly

An old, mad, blind, despised, and dying king,
Princes, the dregs of their dull race, who flow
Through public scorn,--mud from a muddy spring,
Rulers who neither see, nor feel, nor know,
But leech-like to their fainting country cling,
Till they drop, blind in blood, without a blow,
A people starved and stabbed in the untilled field,
An army, which liberticide and prey
Makes as a two-edged sword to all who wield,
Golden and sanguine laws which tempt and slay;
Religion Christless, Godless--a book sealed;
A Senate,--Time's worst statute unrepealed,
Are graves, from which a glorious Phantom may
Burst, to illumine our tempestous day.

Percy Bysshe Shelly (1792-1822) was the classic English Romantic poet. Friend of John Keats and Lord Byron, husband of Mary Shelly. When I first read this poem some years ago it had a particularized meaning for me. . Now I think about the uprisings against totalitarianism all around the world.

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