Upton Sinclair, ed. (1878–1968). rn The Cry for Justice: An Anthology of the Literature of Social Protest. 1915.

England in 1819

Shelley, Percy Bysshe

Percy Bysshe Shelley

(English poet of nature and human liberty, 1792–1822, whose whole life was a cry for beauty and freedom. He died in obloquy and neglect, and today is known as “the Poets’ Poet”)

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.