A Mire of Blood


I met Murder on the way – He had a mask like Castlereagh –
Very smooth he looked, yet grim; Seven blood-hounds followed him:
All were fat; and well they might Be in admirable plight,
For one by one, and two by two, He tossed the human hearts to chew
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.
And the little children, who Round his feet played to and fro,
Thinking every tear a gem, Had their brains knocked out by them.
Clothed with the Bible, as with light, And the shadows of the night,
Like Sidmouth, next, Hypocrisy On a crocodile rode by.
And many more Destructions played In this ghastly masquerade,
All disguised, even to the eyes, Like Bishops, lawyers, peers, or spies.
Last came Anarchy: he rode On a white horse, splashed with blood;
He was pale even to the lips, Like Death in the Apocalypse.peterloo-medal
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!’
With a pace stately and fast, Over English land he passed,
Trampling to a mire of blood The adoring multitude,
And a mighty troop around, With their trampling shook the ground,
Waving each a bloody sword, For the service of their Lord.

from The Masque of Anarchy  Percy Shelley

Peterloo Masque


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