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Song-To the Men of England
by Percy Bysshe Shelley

English Romantic poet and essayist. Shelley's best-known works include his Prometheus Unbound (1819), a lyrical drama in which Shelley expounds the cause of an imaginative revolution, his atheistic poem Queen Mab (1821), his prose essay A Defence of Poetry (1840) and The Triumph of Life, left unfinished at Shelley's death. Many of Shelley's other works were written around 1820: these include The Mask of Anarchy (1820), the poem 'Ode to the West Wind' (1819), Peter Bell the Third (1819) and the political odes 'To Liberty' and 'To Naples' (both 1820). Other works include the unfinished novella The Assassins (1814), the essay A Philosophical View of Reform (1820), and a number of pamphlets on vegetarianism and political subjects - including his An Address to the Irish People (1812) and A Letter to Lord Ellenorough (1812) - as well as an early novel Zastrozzi: A Romance (1810).


Song-To the Men of England
by Percy Bysshe Shelley

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?

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 imposter 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!


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