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Percy Bysshe Shelley
From "Prometheus Unbound"
- Thrones, altars, judgement-seats and prisons; wherein
- And beside which, by wretched men were borne
- Sceptres, tiaras, swords and chains, and tomes
- Of reasoned wrong, glozed on by ignorance,
- Were like those monstrous and barbaric shapes,
- The ghosts of a no-more-remembered fame,
- Which from their unworn obelisks look forth
- In triumph o'er the palaces and tombs
- Of those who were their conquerors, mouldering round.
- These imaged to the pride of kings and priests
- A dark yet mighty faith, a power as wide
- As is the world it wasted, and are now
- But an astonishment; even so the tools
- And emblems of its last captivity,
- Amid the dwellings of the peopled earth
- Stand, not o'erthrown, but unregarded now.
- And those foul shapes, abhorred by God and man -
- Which under many a name and many a form
- Strange, savage, ghastly, dark and execrable,
- Were Jupiter, the tyrant of the world;
- And which the nations, panic-stricken, served
- With blood, and hearts broken by long hope, and love
- Dragged to his altars soiled and garlandless,
- And slain amid men's unreclaiming tears,
- Flattering the thing they feared, which fear was hate-
- Frown, mouldering fast, o'er their abandoned shrines.
- The painted- veil; by those who were, called life,
- Which mimicked, as with colours idly-spread,
- All men believed or hoped, is torn aside -
- The loathsome mask has fallen, the man remains
- Sceptreless,-free, uncircumscribed - but man:
- Equal, unclassed,-tribeless and nationless,
- Exempt from awe, worship, degree, - the king
- Over himself; just, gentle, wise - but man:
- Passionless? no - yet free from guilt or pain,
- Which were, for his will made or suffered them,
- Nor yet exempt, though ruling them like slaves,
- From chance, and death and mutability,
- The clogs of that which else might oversoar
- The loftiest star of unascended heaven,
- Pinnacled dim in the intense inane.