An adaptation of Shelley's Mask of Anarchy

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The new album by independent pop musician, John Vanderslice (formerly of MK Ultra), Cellar Door, contains perhaps the most recent in a long line of adaptations of P. B. Shelley's political song on the occasion of the Peterloo massacre, The Mask of Anarchy. The lyrics of "Pale Horse" are taken straight from Shelley's ballad (with a little cutting and pasting and one or two interpolations). Listeners can even download an MP3 audio file here.

from the haunts of daily life
where is waged the daily strife
common wants and common cares
cuts the human heart with tears

rise like lions after a slumber
in greatly unknowable numbers

let the tyrants pour around
with apocalyptic sound
on the charge of iron wheels
and the crash of horse’s heels

rise like lions after a slumber
in greatly unknowable numbers
free the blood that must ensue
we are many and they are few

from the workhouse and the prison
pale as corpses newly risen
knives are drawn now let them see
standing tall that say they’re free

your strong and simple words
set to wound as sharpened swords
wide as targets let them be
with their shade to cover me

rise like lions after a slumber
in greatly unknowable numbers
free the blood that must ensue
we are many and they are few

SJ

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