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POEMS WRITTEN IN 1819

LINES

WRITTEN DURING THE CASTLEREAGH ADMINISTRATION

I

CORPSES are cold in the tomb ·
Stones on the pavement are dumb
Abortions are dead in the womb,

And their mothers look pale, like the death-white

shore

Of Albion, free no more.

II

Her sons are as stones in the way-
They are masses of senseless clay
They are trodden and move not away -
The abortion with which she travaileth
Is Liberty, smitten to death.

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III

Then trample and dance, thou Oppressor!
For thy victim is no redresser-
Thou art sole lord and possessor

Of her corpses, and clods, and abortions - they pave
Thy path to the grave.

Lines written during the Castlereagh Administration. Medwin, 1832 || England, Harvard MS. Published by Medwin, The Athenæum, December 8, 1832.

i. 4 death-white, Harvard MS., Frederickson MS. || white, Medwin, 1832.

IV

Hearest thou the festival din

Of Death and Destruction and Sin,

And Wealth crying, Havoc! within?

'Tis the Bacchanal triumph that makes truth

dumb,

Thine Epithalamium.

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V

Ay, marry thy ghastly wife!

Let Fear and Disquiet and Strife

Spread thy couch in the chamber of Life ;

Marry Ruin, thou Tyrant! and Hell be thy

guide

To the bed of the bride!

SONG

TO THE MEN OF ENGLAND

I

MEN of England, wherefore plough
For the lords who lay ye low?

iv. 1 festival, Harvard MS., Frederickson MS., Mrs. Shelley, 18391 || festal, Medwin, 1832.

iv. 4 that, Frederickson MS. || which, Harvard MS., Medwin, 1832.

v. 2 Disquiet, Frederickson MS, Harvard MS., Mrs. Shelley, 18391 || Disgust, Medwin, 1832.

V.

. 4 Hell, Frederickson MS. || God, Harvard MS., Medwin, 1832. 5 the bride, Harvard MS., Frederickson MS., Mrs. Shelley, 18391 || thy, Harvard MS. cancelled, Medwin, 1832.

Song: To the Men of England. Published by Mrs. Shelley,

Wherefore weave with toil and care
The rich robes your tyrants wear?

II

Wherefore feed, and clothe, and save,
From the cradle to the grave,
Those ungrateful drones who would
Drain your
sweat nay, drink your blood?

III

Wherefore, Bees of England, forge
Many a weapon, chain, and scourge,
That these stingless drones may spoil
The forced produce of your toil?

IV

Have ye leisure, comfort, calm,
Shelter, food, love's gentle balm?
Or what is it ye buy so dear
With your pain and with your fear?

The seed ye sow, another reaps;
The wealth ye find, another keeps ;
The robes ye weave, another wears;
The arms ye forge, another bears.

VI

Sow seed, but let no tyrant reap ;
Find wealth, let no impostor heap;
Weave robes,-let not the idle wear;
Forge arms,-in your defence to bear.

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VII

Shrink to your cellars, holes, and cells;
In halls ye deck, another dwells.
Why shake the chains ye wrought? Ye see
The steel ye tempered glance on ye.

VIII

With plough and spade, and hoe and loom,
Trace your grave, and build your tomb,
And weave your winding-sheet, till fair
England be your sepulchre.

TO SIDMOUTH AND CASTLEREAGH

1

As from an ancestral oak

Two empty ravens sound their clarion,
Yell by yell, and croak by croak,
When they scent the noonday smoke
Of fresh human carrion:

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II

As two gibbering night-birds flit
From their bowers of deadly yew
Through the night to frighten it,
When the moon is in a fit,

And the stars are none, or few:

To S[idmouth and C[astlerea]gh. Harvard MS. || Similes, Medwin, 1832. Similes, Mrs. Shelley, 18391. Similes. For Two Political Characters of 1819, Mrs. Shelley, 18392. Published by Medwin, The Athenæum, August 25, 1832.

ii. 2 yew, Medwin, 1832 || hue, Medwin, 1833. 4 moon, Rossetti || morn, Medwin, 1832.

III

As a shark and dog-fish wait,
Under an Atlantic isle,
For the negro-ship, whose freight
Is the theme of their debate,
Wrinkling their red gills the while-

IV

Are ye, two vultures sick for battle,
Two scorpions under one wet stone,
Two bloodless wolves whose dry throats rattle,
Two crows perched on the murrained cattle,
Two vipers tangled into one.

ENGLAND IN 1819

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 SenateTime's worst statute unrepealed,

England in 1819. Published by Mrs. Shelley, 18391.
9 make, Rossetti.

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