Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


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."

Credit


This poem is in the public domain.

Author


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