To The Men Of England

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!

by Percy Bysshe Shelley

Comments (19)

England be your sepulchre! Well expressed and communicated! Sylva.
Enjoyed this poem on the disparities in society.
Quite mysterious, the last two stanzas. He seems to be advocating passive, yet armed, resistance. It's a bit odd, yet oddly modern.
Percy, if you were alive today what would you have written, observing the modern way of living of modern people, who live in the council house and the high income status. we, the people from the developing regions, have to repeat your poem, Thank you for sharing..
Percy, if you were alive today what would you have written, observing the modern way of living of modern people, who live in the council house and the high income status. we, the people from the developing regions, have to repeat your poem, Thank you for sharing..
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