That which is slavery is, too well -
For its very name has grown
To an echo of your own.'
What are thou Freedom? O! could slaves
Answer from their living graves
This demand - tyrants would flee
Like a dream's dim imagery:'
'Thou art not, as imposters say,
A shadow soon to pass away,
A superstition, and a name
Echoing from the cave of Fame.'
'For the labourer thou art bread,
And a comely table spread
From his daily labour come
In a neat and happy home.'
'Thou art clothes, and fire, and food
For the trampled multitude -
No - in countries that are free
Such starvation cannot be
As in England now we see.'
Prometheus Unbound is a play that represents a vision of the future without tyrants. It is Shelley's response to a French revolution gone wrong and perhaps the piece of work that best reveals his politics , values and ideals. He states his intentions in the Preface:
"My purpose has hitherto been simply to familiarize the highly refined imagination of the more select classes of poetical readers with beautiful idealisms of moral excellence; aware that, until the mind can love, and admire, and trust, and hope, and endure, reasoned principles of moral conduct are seeds cast upon the highway of life which the unconscious passenger tramples into dust, although they would bear the harvest of his happiness."
Shelley speaks in the epilogue through Demogorgon to champion free will and hope in the face of oppression.
To suffer woes which Hope thinks infinite;
To forgive wrongs darker than death or night;
To defy Power, which seems omnipotent;
To love, and bear; to hope till Hope creates
From its own wreck the thing it contemplates;
Neither to change, nor falter, nor repent;
This, like thy glory, Titan, is to be
Good, great and joyous, beautiful and free;
This is alone Life, Joy, Empire, and Victory.
Shelley was a Fighter ,Activist ,Poet and Revolutionary and his work deserves to be read, studied and used in the struggle for the Freedom he so cherished.