‘Rise Like Lions After Slumber

It’s as if it were written just for the Occupy Movement.

From The Mask of Anarchy by Percy Bysshe Shelley, comes this, the first recorded call to nonviolent resistance.

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

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

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

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 โ€” they are few”

From this

To this

Special tip-o-the-hat to Jenna Pope for pointing me to the poem!


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7 thoughts on “‘Rise Like Lions After Slumber

            1. I would just like to say that I disagree with the assertion that this comparison is somehow “overearnest”. While Shelley wrote this poem as a direct response to Peterloo, the message was that of support and encouragement to protest peacefully. The works of Percy Bysshe Shelley are about peaceful and nonviolent protest and are applicable to Occupy protests indeed. Some of his other works, “The Cenci” and “Prometheus Unbound”, to name but a few, were all written before the Peterloo massacre and deal with the repercussions of violence in response to oppression.

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