Gratitude while they’re still alive…

The last couple of years have been really big on celebrity deaths. What’s been odd for me is that I realized I don’t really understand what emotional profile an artist has for me until he or she is gone. This is all the worse with rock stars, who project an image of eternal youth and vitality that is of course far from the truth.

The three recent deaths that affected me the most were the deaths of Robin Williams, Bowie, and Prince. Lemmy’s death was sad for me, but it was more like losing a weird uncle: your family just got a lot more boring and you wish you’d appreciated him more when you had him. The death of the last remaining original member of the Ramones hit a little harder.

I think that Prince, Robin Williams, and Bowie affected me so much because they’ve been a part of my life since my early teen years. I remember watching Williams on Happy Days and then Mork and Mindy:

I remember listening to Bowie on the radio since about the mid-70s and then seeing him on Saturday Night Live in 1979. I watched him up there in that purple skirt as the episode was being aired and thought… dude, you’re so weird:

And I hate to say it, but my earliest memories of Prince weren’t of Purple Rain. They were of the campy Batman stuff he did in the late 1980s:

This is a long time to have people form a part of your cultural background, and regardless of taste or preference, they possessed a rare level of genius and creativity. I think I took them for granted at the time, but after seeing many actors and musicians cycle through pop culture, these three stand out as genius.

What affected me the most after the fact of Prince’s death was the universal outpouring of love and grief afterwards. Could he have possibly known how people felt? I don’t know. Of his last twelve albums, one was platinum and two were gold (but six were top 10). I haven’t picked up a Prince album since Musicology, his last platinum album released in 2004. But still, I felt his death. I felt like something significant was lost — a certain level of genius that isn’t easily replaced, exactly what I felt about Bowie, who I had at least followed more consistently over the last twenty years. I was excited about Blackstar and loved that the video generated almost a million hits its first twenty-four hours on YouTube.

So I’m mostly wishing I’d appreciated Prince more. Paid more attention, watched what he was doing, listened to what he had to say, because he had (and still has, really) things to say. I hope he had people around him who let him feel that love and appreciation.

So now, in the most morbid possible tribute, I’m going to express appreciation for a few aging geniuses here.

Chrissie Hynde (b. 1951, turning 65 this year). Her latest album is Stockholm, and I’ve heard her next project will be a joint project with the lead guitarist for the Black Keys. That’s the best news I’ve heard in some time. She exemplifies paying your dues, taking risks, and saying exactly how you feel.

Patti Smith (b. 1946, turning 70 this year). She’s a poet, author, painter, photographer, songwriter, and rock star, and she released what is arguably the best album of her life in 2012, Banga:

Jeff Beck (b. 1944, turning 72 this year). He’s been amazing since the 60s. If you can catch his performances for the Rock Hall anniversary concert, do it. They’re on Apple Music:

Keith Richards (b. 1943, turning 73 this year). Just released a great blues/blues rock solo album (Crosseyed Heart) accompanied by a documentary. He knows he’s getting old, and he just wanted to tell everyone how grateful he was for the blues artists who inspired him:

Bob Dylan (b. 1941, turned 74 this year). His late career albums have been focused upon what his career has been always focused upon: Americana. He’s always paid tribute to great American music, either by performing it or reinventing it. He is our true poet laureate:

Buddy Guy (b. 1936, turning 80 this year): With the death of B.B. King — who if you’ve ever seen him live was the model of a gentleman — may be the last of our old great blues guitarists. I saw him at his club in Chicago in 2012. He mocked pyrotechnics in guitar playing, wiping his arse with his guitar while he was performing Hendrix licks (all the while praising Hendrix’s talent), this man can still play. Check out his latest album, Born to Play Guitar, which won a deserved grammy for Best Blues Guitar Album:

I could go on — Jagger and all of the rest of the Stones are getting old. So are the remaining members of Pink Floyd and the Doors. Springsteen will be turning 67 this year, Chuck Berry is 89, while Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey are 70 and 72, respectively, while McCartney and Ringo Starr are 73 and 75. And I haven’t mentioned the Ramones, whose last original member recently passed away.

These musicians all came into their careers during a time when the music industry — though just as sold out as it always was — was looking for a new sound. Now it’s harder. Music companies are only looking to sell to a defined demographic and probably know just how many downloads (or streams) any given artist is expected to get. Remember: anyone in it for the money will always play it safe. Genius has less room to flourish now, and all members of the first three groundbreaking generations of rock and roll may well be completely gone in the next ten to fifteen years. Even the 80s stars are getting old: Debbie Harry is 70 while the Mothersbaugh brothers of Devo are in their 60s.

So what are we going to do with this vacuum? What will take its place? What will we do to nurture future genius? Rock and roll has encapsulated all human energies for decades now: our rages, fears, loves, hates, and passions. It screams about God and sex and politics. It’s been sold out and whored for every dime it could squeeze out of every kid who ever bought a record since the 1950s, but it has still maintained a purity and intensity of expression: no matter what happens, strictures could never contain it. Whenever it has become predictable it rebelled against itself, reinventing music over and over again. It’s been our vehicle for the uncontainable, the inexpressible, and that which can’t be bought. If it ever is finally tamed, we may well be lost.

Why Donor Base Matters: Leeches vs. Producers

We all know that there are companies that produce things, like Apple and Google and Microsoft and GM, and there are people who work for them (represented by unions). These companies that produce things are who I’m calling the “producers”: tech and manufacturers and their employees. They are the representatives of our real economy, the ones who make up not only the workforce but the material nature of our everyday lives. Every building you work in, car you drive, road you drive on, and bit of technology that you use are produced by this group.

But I’d like to focus on a different component of our economy: the money handlers. These people take money from one group and distribute it to another. This group is commonly referred to as the FIRE sector: finance, insurance, and real estate. They don’t produce anything: they make all of their money by taking it out of the transaction somehow. They’re like someone who slices a piece of cake owned by one person and then serves it to someone else — all of their wealth consists of the amount of cake they can get to stick to their fingers during the transfer. The difference between the size of the piece of cake they initially collect and the size of the piece of cake that they eventually pass around is their profit: the bigger the cake starts out and the smaller it is when distributed always means more cake for them.

So insurance companies, for example, take your money in the form of premiums and then distribute it to doctors, medical facilities, and pharmaceutical companies in the form of negotiated payments for services. Insurance companies make their money — and they make billions upon billions of dollars every year — by collecting more money in premiums than they pay out in services. So they are motivated to charge premiums as high as the system can bear and pay for as few services as the system will allow. That is where their profit comes from.

The nature of the system motivates insurance companies to pay out very little, of course, and it’s well-known that insurance companies often deny payment not because denial of payment is justified, but because they save money that way: too many people will just pay the bill rather than fight the denial of payment. I worked for the American Arbitration Association briefly in late 1999, and I saw first hand how evil the insurance industry can be as the AAA was moderating a class action lawsuit against Prudential for predatory insurance practices.

That’s the thing with an industry that just sucks money out of a system without producing anything: it only cares about its own short term profitability because its only money comes from there. On the other hand, producers understand that they need educated employees, so they care about education. Producers know how much money they lose from sick workers, so they care about healthcare too. But insurance companies? They don’t benefit at all from an educated populace and don’t care about healthcare except for minimizing payment.

That same kind of thinking extends to the financial sector (in large part) and real estate: they just suck money out of a transaction between parties that are actually interested in and invested in the system as a whole — and I mean as a whole. All of our infrastructure, technology, healthcare, and education are needed by the producers to conduct their business. They may grumble about having to pay for it, but they still need it, and they know it.

So the FIRE sector is essentially a leech on our system that doesn’t benefit from the operations of the system itself. It just needs a host to suck on to stay fat and happy.

During his term in office, Bill Clinton helped deregulate the leeches. Some of the leeches working for Bill then got jobs in the financial sector, working for companies such as Goldman Sachs that were at the center of the 2008 financial crash — who then became major donors to Hillary’s budding Senate career. As we see, the problem is that a leech will just suck and suck and suck and suck until its host is dead, if it’s allowed to do so. It doesn’t matter that the leech will die when the host dies. Leeches are too stupid to understand that. They just want to get as fat and happy as they can as quickly as possible, so all they care about is an unrestricted blood flow.

And that is why we nearly had another worldwide Great Depression in 2008. The leeches ran wild.

So do you understand now why so many people are saying Bernie’s plans are impractical? Bernie’s plans cut out the leeches, and many times the leeches are funding economists and think tanks and even university economic departments.

Under our current system (let’s just look at health insurance), the money flows this way:

  1. Everyday people and businesses pay high premiums to insurance companies.
  2. Insurance companies collect these premiums, usually from employers (cost of administration plus MASSIVE PROFITS)
  3. Doctors, etc., receive payment for services from insurance companies.

Sanders’s plan would collect a 2.2% tax on individuals plus a 6.8% tax on businesses (in PLACE OF premiums) to support this cash flow instead:

  1. Everyday people and businesses pay a relatively low tax (compared to premiums — you are in the top 5% of the population at least if your premiums and the amount of your employer’s payment is more than 8.8% of your own salary).
  2. The federal government collects taxes (cost of administration only, but no profit)
  3. Doctors, etc., receive payment for services from the federal government.

That is why Bernie’s plan will help grow the economy. It will put more money into the pockets of people at the bottom and in their employers’ pockets. It will grow the economy from the bottom up. Obviously: because these are the people who spend their money within the system itself rather than hide it in overseas tax shelters.

Now I know some of you are thinking that big corporations (both leeches and producers) shelter their money too, and they do. But saving money on health insurance premiums benefits small businesses that keep their money here in the US, in the system. Small business accounts for almost 50% of all workers and 60% of job growth since the 2008 crash. The money saved under Sanders’s plans for health insurance and education will benefit a significant number of Americans who live and work in this country and spend their money within its borders. It will help their employers too, because small businesses pay higher premiums (think about that logic for awhile: who benefits from it?). Yes, it will grow the economy.

Education works the same way. The cost of college isn’t just tuition, fees, and room and board. It’s tuition, fees, room and board, and interest on student loan debt (i.e., leech profits).

Just as our health insurance is being run to benefit the insurance leeches, education is being run to benefit banking leeches.

We need the leeches, don’t get me wrong. Health insurance allows us to distribute the risk of serious injury or illness. Loans allow us to buy cars and houses before we’ve had time to save for them, which would be virtually impossible for most of us before retirement. But, the federal government can do the same thing just as well, and we certainly don’t need the leeches running things, because we’ve already seen what leeches do when they have their way. Remember the 2008 financial crash.

Now, the leeches have been supporting the Clintons, including Hillary, and the producers have been supporting Sanders. I’m talking about lifetime donor base. Bernie has every right to make videos like these, and to give speeches like these:

And that’s why I don’t think it’s all that great that Hillary has been raising so much money for downticket Democrats: she’s selling out the whole party to the leeches.

Here’s an overview. Let me start with Bernie Sanders’s donor base. Of his top twenty lifetime donors,

  • 15 are unions. They represent the working and middle class. Producers.
  • 3 are in the tech sector, including Google (his top donor), Microsoft, and Apple. They represent people who actually produce stuff rather than just shift money around. Producers.
  • 1 is the UC system, and educators are well represented on this list in unions as well. Producers.
  • 1 are the trial lawyers, which has for a long time been supporters of the Democratic Party. Service industry.

Now let’s compare that to Hillary Clinton’s top twenty lifetime donors:

  • Her top donor is Emily’s list, an organization working for women’s rights. That’s admirable. Service industry.
  • 2 of her top donors are the UC system and Harvard University. Like the trial lawyers, they have traditionally given to the Democratic Party. Service industry.
  • 2 are major media corporations: Time Warner and 21st Century Fox, the owner of Fox News of all things. Keep in mind that six umbrella corporations control 90% of American media and you’ll understand why news coverage has been so pathetically biased in favor of Hillary Clinton. Producers? Service industry? A little of both?
  • There are 8 large, international, very specific law firms on Clinton’s top 20 list: DLA Piper; Skadden, Arps et al; Kirkland & Ellis; Paul, Weiss et al; Greenburg Traurig LLP; Sullivan & Cromwell; Akin, Gump et al; Ernest & Young (large, multinational audit firm). I have not had the time to research each one specifically, but most of them seem involved in representing the interests of multinational corporations around the world. Trial lawyers as a group don’t appear in the top 20. Leech support.
  • There is 1 manufacturing company: Corning, Inc. Producer.
  • There is 1 entertainment company: National Amusements, Inc. Producer.
  • There are 5 firms from the financial sector, four of them very high on the list: Citigroup, Inc.; Goldman Sachs; J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.;  Lehman Brothers; and Morgan Stanley. Nothing but leeches.
  • And, of course, there are no unions. Workers aren’t represented here.

It’s that last group of five that is the most problematic, but of course we should see the law firms as folded into these and the media giants. As you know, in 2008 the world experienced the largest financial crash in history since the Great Depression. The U.S. Senate’s “Levin–Coburn Report concluded that the crisis was the result of ‘high risk, complex financial products; undisclosed conflicts of interest; the failure of regulators, the credit rating agencies, and the market itself to rein in the excesses of Wall Street.'”

Bottom line: Wall Street caused the crash. But who do we mean by “Wall Street”?

  • Citigroup, Inc., Hillary Clinton’s no. 2 biggest donor: Massive recipient of federal bailout money after the 2008 crash. The people who were the architects of loosening regulations in the late 1990s under Bill Clinton, Robert Rubin and Charles Prince, later found themselves on Citigroup’s board of directors pushing it toward the risky practices that led to its insolvency.
  • Goldman Sachs, Hillary Clinton’s no. 4 largest donor: Profited from the financial collapse and was later fined $550 million by the SEC.
  • J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.: Hillary Clinton’s no. 5 largest donor, which has been involved in a long list of controversies. It was fined $88 million by the Office of Foreign Assets Control in 2012 and was investigated by the Department of Justice for its role in the 2008 financial scandal, which found in preliminary investigations that it violated federal securities laws. The SEC has also been investigating this firm, which is also implicated in the Bernie Madoff scandal.
  • Morgan Stanley: Hillary Clinton’s no. 6 largest donor. This firm also has a long list of actions against it, with the Federal Reserve announcing a Consent Order against the firm on April 3, 2012 for “‘a pattern of misconduct and negligence in residential mortgage loan servicing and foreclosure processing.’ The consent order requires the firm to review foreclosure proceedings conducted by the firm. The firm will also be responsible for monetary sanctions.”
  • Lehman Brothers: Hillary Clinton’s no. 18 largest donor, this firm is now bankrupt and was found guilty of major financial malfeasance in the 2008 financial scandal, for reasons that included gimmicky bookkeeping.

Four of Clinton’s top six donors and a fifth in her top twenty are implicated in the 2008 financial crash and guilty of massive and destructive financial malfeasance. It’s not just that she’s taking Wall St. money. It’s that she’s taking Wall St. money from its biggest criminals. The Clinton campaign is being supported by large donors: 100 donors alone had contributed $195 million to Clinton’s campaign as of February 2016 while the Sanders campaign has been supported by over 5 million contributors — the largest donor base in history — who have averaged gifts of $27 each.

While the middle class is being squeezed, the largest transfer of wealth in history has been taking place, and it is primarily benefitting the top 1%.

Bill Clinton doesn’t take this at all seriously. He doesn’t take the damage caused worldwide by his policies and donors seriously. He recently, glibly said Sanders supporters believe we should “Shoot every third person on Wall St.”

When he said that, some people who have been paying attention thought, “No, every one of them should be shot,” while others thought, “Yes, and jail the other two.”

There is rampant, destructive criminality at the heart of the Clintons’ donor base, and everyone who observes it has a right to be concerned. Dismissing it just makes it worse. That’s been a common pattern within pro-Hillary discourse: to diminish the negative effects of these measurably destructive policies.

Please, NY voters: vote for producers and not for leeches. In other words, vote for yourself. The leeches have caused enough damage.

And in homage to our current political environment, a video:

Apple Music Playlist: Cool Acoustic

I’ve subscribed to Apple Music recently and have started creating — or rather, recreating — my iPod playlists and sharing them. This post is an experiment in embedding a link to them in WordPress. If you subscribe to Apple Music, you should be able to view and listen to the playlist in iTunes or Apple Music by clicking on the link. If you’re not an Apple Music subscriber, you can view the list in the image below. Click on the top left image if the text is too difficult to read in your browser as it displays below.

Apple Music Playlist by Jim Rovira: Cool Acoustic.

NaPoWriMo: Day 9

"And did those feet..."
Guest poet: William Blake

And did those feet in ancient time,
Walk upon England's mountains green:
And was the holy Lamb of God,
On England's pleasant pastures seen!

And did the Countenance Divine,
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here,
Among these dark Satanic Mills?

Bring me my Bow of burning gold;
Bring me my Arrows of desire:
Bring me my Spear: O clouds unfold!
Bring me my Chariot of fire!

I will not cease from Mental Fight,
Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand:
Till we have built Jerusalem,
In England's green & pleasant Land

NaPoWriMo: Day 5

Today’s poem is by guest poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, because the early nineteenth century appears to have a great deal in common with the early twenty-first.

"The Mask of Anarchy: Written on the Occasion of the Massacre at Manchester"

		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.

		2
I met Murder on the way--
He had a mask like Castlereagh--
Very smooth he looked, yet grim;
Seven blood-hounds followed him:

		3
All were fat; and well they might
Be in admirable plight,				10
For one by one, and two by two,
He tossed them human hearts to chew

		4
Which from his wide cloak he drew.
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.

		5
And the little children, who
Round his feet played to and fro,
Thinking every tear a gem,			20
Had their brains knocked out by them.

		6
Clothed with the Bible, as with light,
And the shadows of the night,
Like Sidmouth, next, Hypocrisy
On a crocodile rode by.

		7
And many more Destructions played
In this ghastly masquerade,
All disguised, even to the eyes,
Like Bishops, lawyers, peers, or spies.

		8
Last came Anarchy: he rode			30
On a white horse, splashed with blood;
He was pale even to the lips,
Like Death in the Apocalypse.

		9
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!'

		10
With a pace stately and fast,
Over English land he passed,
Trampling to a mire of blood			40
The adoring multitude.

		11
And a mighty troop around,
With their trampling shook the ground,
Waving each a bloody sword,
For the service of their Lord.

		12
And with glorious triumph, they
Rode through England proud and gay,
Drunk as with intoxication
Of the wine of desolation.

		13
O'er fields and towns, from sea to sea,		50
Passed the Pageant swift and free,
Tearing up, and trampling down;
Till they came to London town.

		14
And each dweller, panic-stricken,
Felt his heart with terror sicken
Hearing the tempestuous cry
Of the triumph of Anarchy.

		15
For with pomp to meet him came,
Clothed in arms like blood and flame,
The hired murderers, who did sing		60
`Thou art God, and Law, and King.

		16
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.'

		17
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.' --

		18
Then all cried with one accord,			70
`Thou art King, and God, and Lord;
Anarchy, to thee we bow,
Be thy name made holy now!'

		19
And Anarchy, the Skeleton,
Bowed and grinned to every one,
As well as if his education
Had cost ten millions to the nation.

		20
For he knew the Palaces
Of our Kings were rightly his;
His the sceptre, crown, and globe,		80
And the gold-inwoven robe.

		21
So he sent his slaves before
To seize upon the Bank and Tower,
And was proceeding with intent
To meet his pensioned Parliament

		22
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:

		23
`My father Time is weak and gray		90
With waiting for a better day;
See how idiot-like he stands,
Fumbling with his palsied hands!

		24
`He has had child after child,
And the dust of death is piled
Over every one but me--
Misery, oh, Misery!'

		25
Then she lay down in the street,
Right before the horses' feet,
Expecting, with a patient eye,			100
Murder, Fraud, and Anarchy.

		26
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:

		27
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,

		28
It grew -- a Shape arrayed in mail		110
Brighter than the viper's scale,
And upborne on wings whose grain
Was as the light of sunny rain.

		29
On its helm, seen far away,
A planet, like the Morning's, lay;
And those plumes its light rained through
Like a shower of crimson dew.

		30
With step as soft as wind it passed
O'er the heads of men -- so fast
That they knew the presence there,		120
And looked, -- but all was empty air.

		31
As flowers beneath May's footstep waken,
As stars from Night's loose hair are shaken,
As waves arise when loud winds call,
Thoughts sprung where'er that step did fall.

		32
And the prostrate multitude
Looked -- and ankle-deep in blood,
Hope, that maiden most serene,
Was walking with a quiet mien:

		33
And Anarchy, the ghastly birth,			130
Lay dead earth upon the earth;
The Horse of Death tameless as wind
Fled, and with his hoofs did grind
To dust the murderers thronged behind.

		34
A rushing light of clouds and splendour,
A sense awakening and yet tender
Was heard and felt -- and at its close
These words of joy and fear arose

		35
As if their own indignant Earth
Which gave the sons of England birth		140
Had felt their blood upon her brow,
And shuddering with a mother's throe

		36
Had turnèd every drop of blood
By which her face had been bedewed
To an accent unwithstood,--
As if her heart had cried aloud:

		37
`Men of England, heirs of Glory,
Heroes of unwritten story,
Nurslings of one mighty Mother,
Hopes of her, and one another;			150

		38
`Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number,
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you --
Ye are many -- they are few.

		39
`What is Freedom? -- ye can tell
That which slavery is, too well --
For its very name has grown
To an echo of your own.<

		40
`'Tis to work and have such pay			160
As just keeps life from day to day
In your limbs, as in a cell
For the tyrants' use to dwell,

		41
`So that ye for them are made
Loom, and plough, and sword, and spade,
With or without your own will bent
To their defence and nourishment.

		42
`'Tis to see your children weak
With their mothers pine and peak,
When the winter winds are bleak,--		170
They are dying whilst I speak.

		43
`'Tis to hunger for such diet
As the rich man in his riot
Casts to the fat dogs that lie
Surfeiting beneath his eye;

		44
`'Tis to let the Ghost of Gold
Take from Toil a thousandfold
More than e'er its substance could
In the tyrannies of old.

		45
`Paper coin -- that forgery			180
Of the title-deeds, which ye
Hold to something of the worth
Of the inheritance of Earth.

		46
`'Tis to be a slave in soul
And to hold no strong control
Over your own wills, but be
All that others make of ye.

		47
`And at length when ye complain
With a murmur weak and vain
'Tis to see the Tyrant's crew			190
Ride over your wives and you--
Blood is on the grass like dew.

		48
`Then it is to feel revenge
Fiercely thirsting to exchange
Blood for blood -- and wrong for wrong --
Do not thus when ye are strong.

		49
`Birds find rest, in narrow nest
When weary of their wingèd quest;
Beasts find fare, in woody lair
When storm and snow are in the air,1		200

		50
`Asses, swine, have litter spread
And with fitting food are fed;
All things have a home but one--
Thou, Oh, Englishman, hast none!

		51
`This is Slavery -- savage men,
Or wild beasts within a den
Would endure not as ye do--
But such ills they never knew.

		52
`What art thou Freedom? O! could slaves
Answer from their living graves			210
This demand -- tyrants would flee
Like a dream's dim imagery:

		53
`Thou art not, as impostors say,
A shadow soon to pass away,
A superstition, and a name
Echoing from the cave of Fame.

		54
`For the labourer thou art bread,
And a comely table spread
From his daily labour come
In a neat and happy home.			220

		55
`Thou art clothes, and fire, and food
For the trampled multitude--
No -- in countries that are free
Such starvation cannot be
As in England now we see.

		56
`To the rich thou art a check,
When his foot is on the neck
Of his victim, thou dost make
That he treads upon a snake.

		57
`Thou art Justice -- ne'er for gold		230
May thy righteous laws be sold
As laws are in England -- thou
Shield'st alike the high and low.

		58
`Thou art Wisdom -- Freemen never
Dream that God will damn for ever
All who think those things untrue
Of which Priests make such ado.

		59
`Thou art Peace -- never by thee
Would blood and treasure wasted be
As tyrants wasted them, when all		240
Leagued to quench thy flame in Gaul.

		60
`What if English toil and blood
Was poured forth, even as a flood?
It availed, Oh, Liberty,
To dim, but not extinguish thee.

		61
`Thou art Love -- the rich have kissed
Thy feet, and like him following Christ,
Give their substance to the free
And through the rough world follow thee,

		62
`Or turn their wealth to arms, and make		250
War for thy belovèd sake
On wealth, and war, and fraud--whence they
 Drew the power which is their prey.

		63
`Science, Poetry, and Thought
Are thy lamps; they make the lot
Of the dwellers in a cot
So serene, they curse it not.

		64
`Spirit, Patience, Gentleness,
All that can adorn and bless
Art thou -- let deeds, not words, express	260
Thine exceeding loveliness.

		65
`Let a great Assembly be
Of the fearless and the free
On some spot of English ground
Where the plains stretch wide around.

		66
`Let the blue sky overhead,
The green earth on which ye tread,
All that must eternal be
Witness the solemnity.

		67
`From the corners uttermost			270
Of the bonds of English coast;
From every hut, village, and town
Where those who live and suffer moan
For others' misery or their own.2 

		68
`From the workhouse and the prison
Where pale as corpses newly risen,
Women, children, young and old
Groan for pain, and weep for cold--

		69
`From the haunts of daily life
Where is waged the daily strife			280
With common wants and common cares
Which sows the human heart with tares--

		70
`Lastly from the palaces
Where the murmur of distress
Echoes, like the distant sound
Of a wind alive around

		71
`Those prison halls of wealth and fashion,
Where some few feel such compassion
For those who groan, and toil, and wail
As must make their brethren pale--		290

		72
`Ye who suffer woes untold,
Or to feel, or to behold
Your lost country bought and sold
With a price of blood and gold--

		73
`Let a vast assembly be,
And with great solemnity
Declare with measured words that ye
Are, as God has made ye, free--

		74
`Be your strong and simple words
Keen to wound as sharpened swords,		300
And wide as targes let them be,
With their shade to cover ye.

		75
`Let the tyrants pour around
With a quick and startling sound,
Like the loosening of a sea,
Troops of armed emblazonry.

		76
`Let the charged artillery drive
Till the dead air seems alive
With the clash of clanging wheels,
And the tramp of horses' heels.			310


		77
`Let the fixèd bayonet
Gleam with sharp desire to wet
Its bright point in English blood
Looking keen as one for food.

		78
`Let the horsemen's scimitars
Wheel and flash, like sphereless stars
Thirsting to eclipse their burning
In a sea of death and mourning.

		79
`Stand ye calm and resolute,
Like a forest close and mute,			320
With folded arms and looks which are
Weapons of unvanquished war,

		80
`And let Panic, who outspeeds
The career of armèd steeds
Pass, a disregarded shade
Through your phalanx undismayed.

		81
`Let the laws of your own land,
Good or ill, between ye stand
Hand to hand, and foot to foot,
Arbiters of the dispute,			330

		82
`The old laws of England -- they
Whose reverend heads with age are gray,
Children of a wiser day;
And whose solemn voice must be
Thine own echo -- Liberty!

		83
`On those who first should violate
Such sacred heralds in their state
Rest the blood that must ensue,
And it will not rest on you.

		84
`And if then the tyrants dare			340
Let them ride among you there,
Slash, and stab, and maim, and hew,--
What they like, that let them do.


		85
`With folded arms and steady eyes,
And little fear, and less surprise,
Look upon them as they slay
Till their rage has died away.

		86
`Then they will return with shame
To the place from which they came,
And the blood thus shed will speak		350
In hot blushes on their cheek.

		87
 `Every woman in the land
Will point at them as they stand--
They will hardly dare to greet
Their acquaintance in the street.

		88
`And the bold, true warriors
Who have hugged Danger in wars
Will turn to those who would be free,
Ashamed of such base company.

		89
`And that slaughter to the Nation		360
Shall steam up like inspiration,
Eloquent, oracular;
A volcano heard afar.

		90
`And these words shall then become
Like Oppression's thundered doom
Ringing through each heart and brain,
Heard again -- again -- again--

		91
`Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number--
Shake your chains to earth like dew		370
Which in sleep had fallen on you--
Ye are many -- they are few.'

1. The following stanza is found in the Wise MS.
and in Mary Shelley’s edition of 1839, but is wanting in the Hunt MS. and
in the first edition of 1832:–

‘Horses, oxen, have a home,

When from daily toil they come;

Household dogs, when the wind roars,

Find a home within warm doors.’

2. The following stanza is found (cancelled) at this
place in the Wise MS.:–

‘From the cities where from caves,

Like the dead from putrid graves,

Troops of starvelings gliding come,

Living Tenants of a tomb.’

Swiped from UPenn.

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