Saturday, April 30, 2011

Kings and Parasites, by Percy Bysshe Shelley

Whence, thinks't thou, kings and parasites arose?
Whence that unnatural line of drones, who heap
Toil and unvanquishable penury
on those who build their palaces, and bring
their daily bread?
From vice, black loathsome vice;
from rapine, madness, treachery, and wrong;
from all that 'genders misery, and makes
of earth this horny wilderness;
from lust, revenge and murder.

And when Reason's voice,
loud as the voice of Nature,
shall have waked the Nations; and mankind perceive
that vice is discord, war and misery; and
that virtue is peace, and happiness and harmony;
When man's mature nature shall disdain
the playthings of its childhood, then
Kingly glare will lose its power to dazzle;
its authority will silently pass by;
the gorgeous throne shall stand unnoticed in the regal hall,
fast falling to decay;
Whilst falsehood's trade shall be as hateful and unprofitable
As that of Truth is now.