Let a vast assembly be,
And with great solemnity
Declare with measured words that ye
Are, as God made ye, free –
Be your strong and simple words
Keen to wound as sharpened swords,
And wide as targes let them be,
With their shade to cover ye.
And if then the tyrants dare,
Let them ride among you there,
Slash and stab and maim and hew, –
What they like, that let them do.
With folded arms and steady eyes,
And little fear and less surprise,
Look upon them as they slay,
Till their rage has died away.
And that slaughter to the Nation
Shall steam up like inspiration,
A volcano heard afar.
— Percy Bysshe Shelley, “The Mask of Anarchy”
(Quoted in George MacDonald’s Donal Grant)