Shelley's Sonnet, "England in 1819"

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The Sceptic, Edited by Nanora Sweet and Barbara Taylor
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Sonnet, "England in 1819"

Percy Bysshe Shelley


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 tempestuous day.

Published @ RC

January 2004