The Mask of Anarchy [Excerpt]
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."
This poem is in the public domain.
Percy Bysshe Shelley
Percy Bysshe Shelley, whose literary career was marked with controversy due to his views on religion, atheism, socialism, and free love, is known as a talented lyrical poet and one of the major figures of English romanticism.
Date Published: 1832-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/mask-anarchy-excerpt