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Poem: 'The People'

Poem: 'The People' (by Campanella)

    The people is a beast of muddy brain

    That knows not its own force, and therefore stands

    Loaded with wood and stone; the powerless hands

    Of a mere child guide it with bit and rein;

    One kick would be enough to break the chain;

    But the beast fears, and what the child demands,

    It does; nor its own terror understands,

    Confused and stupefied by bugbears vain.

    Most wonderful: With its own hand it ties

    And gags itself—gives itself death and war.

    For pence doled out by kings from its own store.

    Its own are all things between earth and heaven;

    But this it knows not; and if one arise

    To tell this truth, it kills him unforgiven.

 

(Translated by J. A. Symonds)