The Mask of Anarchy [Excerpt]

Percy Bysshe Shelley - 1792-1822
         LXXIX
"Stand ye calm and resolute, 
Like a forest close and mute,
With folded arms and looks which are
Weapons of unvanquished war, 

         LXXX
"And let Panic, who outspeeds
The career of armèd steeds
Pass, a disregarded shade
Through your phalanx undismayed.

         LXXXI
"Let the laws of your own land, 
Good or ill, between ye stand
Hand to hand, and foot to foot, 
Arbiters of the dispute,

         LXXXII
"The old laws of England—they
Whose reverend heads with age are gray, 
Children of a wiser day;
And whose solemn voice must be
Thine own echo—Liberty!

         LXXXIII
"On those who first should violate
Such sacred heralds in their state
Rest the blood that must ensue, 
And it will not rest on you.

         LXXXIV
"And if then the tyrants dare
Let them ride among you there, 
Slash, and stab, and maim, and hew,—
What they like, that let them do.

         LXXXV
"With folded arms and steady eyes, 
And little fear, and less surprise, 
Look upon them as they slay
Till their rage has died away.

         LXXXVI
"Then they will return with shame
To the place from which they came, 
And the blood thus shed will speak
In hot blushes on their cheek.

         LXXXVII
"Every woman in the land
Will point at them as they stand—
They will hardly dare to greet
Their acquaintance on the street.

         LXXXVIII
"And the bold, true warriors
Who have hugged Danger in wars
Will turn to those who would be free, 
Ashamed of such base company.

         LXXXIX
"And that slaughter to the Nation
Shall steam up like inspiration, 
Eloquent, oracular;
A volcano heard afar.

         XC
"And these words shall then become
Like Oppression's thundered doom
Ringing through each heart and brain, 
Heard again—again—again—

         XCI
"Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number—
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you—
Ye are many—they are few."

More by Percy Bysshe Shelley

Ozymandias

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away."

To the Moon [fragment]

   Art thou pale for weariness
Of climbing Heaven, and gazing on the earth,
   Wandering companionless
Among the stars that have a different birth,--
And ever changing, like a joyless eye
That finds no object worth its constancy?

Ode to the West Wind

I
O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn's being,
Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,

Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red,
Pestilence-stricken multitudes: O thou,
Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed

The wingèd seeds, where they lie cold and low,
Each like a corpse within its grave, until
Thine azure sister of the Spring shall blow

Her clarion o'er the dreaming earth, and fill
(Driving sweet buds like flocks to feed in air)
With living hues and odours plain and hill:

Wild Spirit, which art moving everywhere;
Destroyer and Preserver; hear, O hear!
 
II
Thou on whose stream, 'mid the steep sky's commotion,
Loose clouds like Earth's decaying leaves are shed,
Shook from the tangled boughs of Heaven and Ocean,

Angels of rain and lightning: there are spread
On the blue surface of thine airy surge,
Like the bright hair uplifted from the head

Of some fierce Maenad, even from the dim verge
Of the horizon to the zenith's height,
The locks of the approaching storm. Thou dirge

Of the dying year, to which this closing night
Will be the dome of a vast sepulchre
Vaulted with all thy congregated might

Of vapours, from whose solid atmosphere
Black rain, and fire, and hail will burst: O hear!
 
III
Thou who didst waken from his summer dreams
The blue Mediterranean, where he lay,
Lulled by the coil of his crystalline streams,

Beside a pumice isle in Baiae's bay,
And saw in sleep old palaces and towers
Quivering within the wave's intenser day,

All overgrown with azure moss and flowers
So sweet, the sense faints picturing them! Thou
For whose path the Atlantic's level powers

Cleave themselves into chasms, while far below
The sea-blooms and the oozy woods which wear
The sapless foliage of the ocean, know

Thy voice, and suddenly grow grey with fear,
And tremble and despoil themselves: O hear!
 
IV
If I were a dead leaf thou mightest bear;
If I were a swift cloud to fly with thee;
A wave to pant beneath thy power, and share

The impulse of thy strength, only less free
Than thou, O Uncontrollable! If even
I were as in my boyhood, and could be

The comrade of thy wanderings over Heaven,
As then, when to outstrip thy skiey speed
Scarce seemed a vision; I would ne'er have striven

As thus with thee in prayer in my sore need.
Oh! lift me as a wave, a leaf, a cloud!
I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed!

A heavy weight of hours has chained and bowed
One too like thee: tameless, and swift, and proud.
 
V
Make me thy lyre, even as the forest is:
What if my leaves are falling like its own!
The tumult of thy mighty harmonies

Will take from both a deep, autumnal tone,
Sweet though in sadness. Be thou, Spirit fierce,
My spirit! Be thou me, impetuous one!

Drive my dead thoughts over the universe
Like withered leaves to quicken a new birth!
And, by the incantation of this verse,

Scatter, as from an unextinguished hearth
Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind!
Be through my lips to unawakened Earth

The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind,
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?