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Men of England

Our new track features a poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley which is more political than 90% of the tunes on Spotify. It calls on working people not to accept exploitation and to rise up.  Written shortly after the Peterloo massacre (1819), it was thought too inflammatory to publish during Shelly’s lifetime. Idles take note.

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 hall 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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