Sonnet, "England in 1819"

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The Sceptic, Edited by Nanora Sweet and Barbara Taylor

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