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Poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley

To The Lord Chancellor

Thy country's curse is on thee, darkest crest
Of that foul, knotted, many-headed worm
Which rends our Mother's bosomPriestly Pest!
Masked Resurrection of a buried Form!

Thy country's curse is on thee! Justice sold, 
Truth trampled, Nature's landmarks overthrown,
And heaps of fraud-accumulated gold,
Plead, loud as thunder, at Destruction's throne.

And whilst that sure slow Angel which aye stands
Watching the beck of Mutability 
Delays to execute her high commands,
And, though a nation weeps, spares thine and thee,

Oh, let a father's curse be on thy soul,
And let a daughter's hope be on thy tomb;
Be both, on thy gray head, a leaden cowl 
To weigh thee down to thine approaching doom.

I curse thee by a parent's outraged love,
By hopes long cherished and too lately lost,
By gentle feelings thou couldst never prove,
By griefs which thy stern nature never crossed; 

By those infantine smiles of happy light,
Which were a fire within a stranger's hearth,
Quenched even when kindled, in untimely night
Hiding the promise of a lovely birth:

By those unpractised accents of young speech, 
Which he who is a father thought to frame
To gentlest lore, such as the wisest teach
THOU strike the lyre of mind!oh, grief and shame!

By all the happy see in children's growth
That undeveloped flower of budding years 
Sweetness and sadness interwoven both,
Source of the sweetest hopes and saddest fears-

By all the days, under an hireling's care,
Of dull constraint and bitter heaviness,
O wretched ye if ever any were, 
Sadder than orphans, yet not fatherless!

By the false cant which on their innocent lips
Must hang like poison on an opening bloom,
By the dark creeds which cover with eclipse
Their pathway from the cradle to the tomb 

By thy most impious Hell, and all its terror;
By all the grief, the madness, and the guilt
Of thine impostures, which must be their error
That sand on which thy crumbling power is built

By thy complicity with lust and hate 
Thy thirst for tearsthy hunger after gold
The ready frauds which ever on thee wait
The servile arts in which thou hast grown old

By thy most killing sneer, and by thy smile
By all the arts and snares of thy black den, 
Andfor thou canst outweep the crocodile
By thy false tearsthose millstones braining men

By all the hate which checks a father's love
By all the scorn which kills a father's care
By those most impious hands which dared remove 
Nature's high boundsby theeand by despair

Yes, the despair which bids a father groan,
And cry, 'My children are no longer mine
The blood within those veins may be mine own,
ButTyranttheir polluted souls are thine; 

I curse theethough I hate thee not.O slave!
If thou couldst quench the earth-consuming Hell
Of which thou art a daemon, on thy grave
This curse should be a blessing. Fare thee well!

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Percy Bysshe Shelley's other poems:
  1. To The Republicans Of North America
  2. To Mary
  3. Letter To Maria Gisborne
  4. Liberty
  5. I Would Not Be A King

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