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[Mrs. Shelley says in her Note on Poems of 1819 that Shelley idea of publishing a series of poems adapted expressly to commemorate” the people's “circumstances and wrongs—he wrote a few, but in those days of prosecution for libel they could not be printed.” I presume it was to this same scheme that Shelley referred when he wrote to Leigh Hunt as late as the 1st of May, 1820, enquiring whether he knew of any “ bookseller who would like to publish a little volume of popular songs, wholly political, and destined to awaken and direct the imagination of the reformers.” This enquiry is made in a letter to Hunt placed at my disposal by Mr. Townshend Mayer, and which I have never seen in print. Mrs. Shelley says these popular poems are not among the best of his productions, a writer being always shackled when he endeavours to write down to the comprehension of those who could not understand or feel a highly imaginative style.” I imagine we may safely accept the first six poems in the following section as the extant result of this scheme,—but Mrs. Shelley tells us that “ besides these outpourings of compassion and indignation, he had meant to adorn the cause he loved with loftier poetry of glory and triumph-such is the scope of the Ode to the Assertors of Liberty.” That ode will be found in Vol. II of this edition, pp. 294—5; and there seems to be no doubt that, though originally published with the heading An Ode, [written, October, 1819, before the Spaniards had recovered their liberty.], Shelley meant it to apply to England, the first stanza in particular having reference to the Manchester

Other minor poems belonging to this year are the Ode to Heaven, Ode to the West Wind and An Exhortation, which have already been given in this edition (Vol. II), with Prometheus Unbound, as Shelley gave them. The year that produced, with all these smaller works, The Cenci, the greater part of Prom The Mask of Anarchy, and Peter Bell the Third, must be reckoned a great year in the career of Shelley.-H. B. F.]






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 white shore

Of Albion, free no more.


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.


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.

First published in The Athenæum in 1832, and reprinted the following

year in The Shelley Papers, edited by Captain Medwin.


Hearest thou the festali din
Of Death, and Destruction, and Sin,

And Wealth crying Havock ! within ? "Tis the bacchaval triumph which makes Truth dumb,

Thine epithalamium.


Aye, marry thy ghastly wife!
Let Fear and Disquiet? and Strife

Spread thy couch in the chamber of Life!
Marry Ruin, thou Tyrant! and God be thy guide

To the bed of thy3 bride !




MEN of England, wherefore plough
For the lords who lay ye low?
Wherefore weave with toil and care
The rich robes your tyrants wear?


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


According to Medwin, festal; according to Mrs. Shelley, festival.

3 So in Medwin's edition ; but the in Mrs. Shelley's.

? So in Mrs. Shelley's editions ; but Disgust in Medwiu's.

4 First given by Mrs. Shelley in the first edition of 1839.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.



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 2
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.




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 :

1 First given by Mrs. Shelley in her first edition of 1839.

2 In the first edition there is a semicolon here--in the second a com

I think the sense requires that there should be no stop. Mr. Rossetti reads Make for Makes.

3 From The Shelley Papers. The words for two political characters of 1819 were added in Mrs. Shelley's second edition of 1839. Medwin says the two characters were Castlereagh and Sidmouth, which is of course correct.


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