Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, POLITICAL GREATNESS, by PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY

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POLITICAL GREATNESS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Nor happiness, nor majesty, nor fame
Last Line: Of hopes and fears, being himself alone.
Subject(s): Politics & Government

Nor happiness, nor majesty, nor fame,
Nor peace, nor strength, nor skill in arms or arts,
Shepherd those herds whom tyranny makes tame;
Verse echoes not one beating of their hearts,
History is but the shadow of their shame,
Art veils her glass, or from the pageant starts
As to oblivion their blind millions fleet,
Staining that Heaven with obscene imagery
Of their own likeness. What are numbers knit
By force or custom? Man who man would be
Must rule the empire of himself; in it
Must be supreme, establishing his throne
On vaquished will, quelling the anarchy
Of hopes and fears, being himself alone.

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