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A Song: Men of England

Fadi Kandah D-Mod
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Fadi Kandah

on 22 April 2010

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Transcript of A Song: Men of England

A Song: Men of England Percy Bysshe Shelley 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 halls 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! Introduction The poem describes the unfair treatment of the poor workers in England The poet is from a noble family, and sees thing
with a noble viewpoint
The poet has noticed the poor conditions
of the workers, and has decided to take a stand The poem is written as a way to communicate to the workers,
so they can take action against the "tyrants" Stanzas 1-2 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?
The first two stanzas serve as an awakening for the poor workers and servants
Shelley asks the workers questions as to why they are working for the ungrateful
rich, the "tyrants"
These "tyrants" did not care for their workers and would turn their backs at them at any time as suggested by the lines:
"Those ungrateful drones who would
Drain your sweat -nay, drink your blood?"
Words, such as drones and tyrants, help the readers understand the cruelity of the rich, noble class
A drone is one that lives on the labors of others, or a parasite(Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary)
Stanzas 3-4 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?
In Stanza 3, Shelley uses the term, "Bees of England"
This term is yet another time in which Shelley describes the rich,
or ruling class(Bloom)
In the last two lines of Stanza 4, Shelley begins to insult the poor
workers
"Or what is it ye buy so dear
With your pain and with your fear?"
This insult is used to strike anger into the workers so that
they revolt Stanzas 5-6 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. Stanza 5 is describing how the rich are benefitting from the hard work
of the workers
Stanza 6 is using the same technique, however, Shelley is telling the workers to continue working, but not allow the upper class to benefit from it In these two stanzas, Shelley uses repetition to get the point across Stanzas 7-8 Shrink to your cellars, holes, and cells;
In halls 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! In stanzas 7-8, Shelley gives a warning to the workers
If they continue to do nothing, they will never have better working
conditions
Stanza 8 tells the workers to use their working tools to build their own graves
This stanza may be the most important in the poem, as it gives the workers a
shocking image of what will continue to happen unless they take action Works Cited According to Christine Krueger, Shelley
put all his reformist passion into his poetry and critical works(Kreuger) According to Harold Bloom, as a political and social revolutionary,
Shelley goes on shocking many who attempt to read him(Bloom) - Bloom, Harold. "Bloom on Percy Bysshe Shelley." In Bloom, Harold, ed. Percy Shelley, Bloom's Classic Critical Views. New York: Chelsea House Publishing, 2009. Bloom's Literary Reference Online. Facts On File, Inc. http://www.fofweb.com/activelink2.asp?ItemID=WE54&SID=5&iPin= CCVPS001&SingleRecord=True (accessed April 21, 2010).
-Krueger, Christine, ed. "Shelley, Percy Bysshe." Encyclopedia of British Writers, 19th Century, vol. 1. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2002. Bloom's Literary Reference Online. Facts On File, Inc. http://www.fofweb.com/activelink2.asp?ItemID=WE54&SID=5&iPin= EBWIXX368&SingleRecord=True (accessed April 21, 2010).
-Quigly, Isabel. "Shelley" New York, New York: Viking Press, 1985. Print.
-"drone." Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. 2010.
Merriam-Webster Online. 21 April 2010
<http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/drone>
-Shelley picture:http://i.telegraph.co.uk/telegraph/multimedia/archive/01184/arts-graphics-2008_1184474a.jpg
-Bees Picture:http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2008/08/14/bees.jpg
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