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THE MASK OF ANARCHY:.

WRITTEN ON THE OCCASION OF THE MASSACRE

AT MANCHESTER.

1819.

1.
As I lay asleep in Italy
There came a voice from over the Sea,
And with great power it forth led me
To walk in the visions of Poesy.

II.
I met Murder on the way
He had a mask like Castlereagh-
Very smooth he looked, yet grim;
Seven blood-hounds followed him :

III.
All were fat; and well they might
Be in admirable plight,
For one by one, and two by two,
He tossed them human hearts to chew
Which from his wide cloke he drew.

IV.
Next came Fraud, and he had on,
Like Eldon, an ermined gown ;
His big tears, for he wept well,
Turned to mill-stones as they fell.

V.

And the little children, who
Round his feet played to and fro,
Thinking every tear a gem,
Had their brains knocked out by them.

VI.

Clothed with the Bible, as with light,
And the shadows of the night,
Like Sidmouth, next, Hypocrisy
On a crocodile rode by.

VII.
And many more Destructions played
In this ghastly masquerade,
All disguised, even to the eyes,
Like Bishops, lawyers, peers or spies.

VIII.
Last came Anarchy: he rode
On a white horse, splashed with blood;
He was pale even to the lips,
Like Death in the Apocalypse,

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And he wore a kingly crown;
And in his grasp a sceptre shone ;
On his brow this mark I saw-
“I AM GOD, AND KING, AND LAW!”

x.
With a pace stately and fast,
Over English land he passed,
Trampling to a mire of blood

The adoring multitude. i This stanza is not very clear ; but I suppose we are to understand that the Bible is a mingled web of light and darkness,of high thought and teaching and gross and bloody superstition,—that dogmas and professions from the Hebrew scriptures were the favourite cloke for hypocrisy in those days,--and that Hypocrisy, wearing a mask like Lord Sidmouth, had clothed itself in that familiar cloke for the pageant. -ED,

XI.
And a mighty troop around
With their trampling shook the ground,
Waving each a bloody sword
For the service of their Lord.

XII.
And with glorious triumph they
Rode through England proud and gay,
Drunk as with intoxication
Of the wine of desolation.

XIII.
O'er fields and towns, from sea to sea,
Passed that Pageant swift and free,
Tearing up, and trampling down,
Till they came to London town.

XIV.
And each dweller, panic-stricken,
Felt his heart with terror sicken
Hearing the tempestuous cry
Of the triumph of Anarchy.

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For with pomp to meet him came,
Clothed in arms like blood and flame,
The hired murderers, who did sing
Thou art God, and Law, and King.

XVI. “We have waited, weak and lone, “For thy coming, Mighty One! “Our purses are empty, our swords are cold, “Give us glory, and blood, and gold."

XVII. Lawyers and priests, a motley crowd, To the earth their pale brows bowed ; Like a bad prayer not over loud, Whispering—“Thou art Law and God.”—

XVIII.

Then all cried with one accord,
“ Thou art King, and God, and Lord;
"Anarchy, to thee we bow,
“Be thy name made holy now!”

XIX.
Aná Anarchy, the Skeleton,
Bowed and grinned to every one,
As well as if his education
Had cost ten millions to the nation.

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For he knew the Palaces
Of our Kings were rightly his;
His the sceptre, crown, and globe,
And the gold-inwoven robe.

XXI.
So he sent his slaves before
To seize upon the Bank and Tower,
And was proceeding with intent
To meet his pensioned Parliament,

XXII.
When one fled past, a maniac maid,
And her name was Hope, she said :
But she looked more like Despair,
And she cried out in the air :

XXIII. “My father Time is weak and grey “ With waiting for a better day ; “ See how idiot-like he stands, “Fumbling with his palsied hands!

XXIV. “ He has had child after child, And the dust of death is piled “ Over every one but me“ Misery, oh, Misery !”

XXV.
Then she lay down in the street,
Right before the horses' feet,
Expecting, with a patient eye,
Murder, Fraud and Anarchy.

XXVI.
When between her and her foes
A mist, a light, an image rose,
Small at first, and weak, and frail
Like the vapour of a vale:

XXVII.

Till as clouds grow on the blast,
Like tower-crowned giants striding fast,
And glare with lightnings as they fly,
And speak in thunder to the sky,

XXVIII.
It grew—a Shape arrayed in mail
Brighter than the viper's scale,
And upborne on wings whose grain
Was as the light of sunny rain.

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