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Song To The Men Of England Essay

The poem is called Song to the men of England, and it was written by the romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley in 1819. The poem is about the clash between two classes of society, the poor working class and the rich nobles. The major theme of this poem is exploitation, how the workers are doing all they are doing for the benefit of the ungrateful nobles. The narrator is urging the workers to make a stand as they are being treated unfairly. The poem consists of eight stanzas, each with four lines. There are an AABB rhyming scheme and a rhythmic scheme that gives it a nice flow. The tone of the poem is an imperative one. The poet is from a noble family and sees things from a noble viewpoint.  He has noticed the conditions of the workers so he is speaking to them and telling them to stand up for their rights and not let the upper class of society exploit them.

Some stanzas and line are even insulting to the workers, to agitate them, such as “what is it ye buy so dear with your pain and with your fear”, (stanza three) or “Shrink to your cellars, holes and cells, in halls ye deck another dwells” (stanza seven). In stanza five, there is a slight change of tone. This is where the poet is trying to make the workers realize how the lords are benefiting from them. It is written in a repetitive form – “The seed ye sow, another reaps, The wealth ye find, another keeps”. The constant repetition of “the”, “ye”, and “another” makes the whole stanza more expressive, making it stronger each time. In stanza six, the poem uses the same content as stanza five, but uses a more strong imperative tone – “Sow seed – but let no tyrant reap, Find wealth, – let no imposter heap”.

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Now there is stress on the first two words of the stanza, and he is literally ordering workers to do their work, but this time not to let the upper class benefit from it. Stanza seven and eight are written in a sarcastic tone, degrading the workers with words such as “shrink” and “trace your grave”. The poet is doing this on purpose to get the workers to feel low angry, making them want to stop working for their lords. Shelley uses a lot of metaphors in this poem to express the seriousness of the matter. “The lords are referred to as “tyrants” and “ungrateful drones”. This tells us that they treat the workers unfairly and take advantage of their position, doing nothing themselves.

He says to the workers they “Drain your sweat – nay, drink your blood”. He is taking it to extremes, and making the higher society sound like savages.  In the third stanza, he uses irony, commenting on how the “stingless drones” are using the weapons that the workers forge. The fact that he says “stingless” is telling the workers that without their work and service, they would be of no threat to them. I think that the poet had used good effective language to get his point across to the reader, on how big the difference is between the two classes of society. My thoughts about the poem are that if I was a man in the working class at that time, it would make me think and reconsider my life, and the changes I could make if I just stood up for myself.

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Song To The Men Of England Essay. (2021, Apr 12). Retrieved May 11, 2021, from