Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Waddington, ed. > The Sonnets of Europe
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Samuel Waddington, comp.  The Sonnets of Europe.  1888.
 
The People
By Tommaso Campanella (1568–1639)
 
Translated by John Addington Symonds

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;        5
  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        10
  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.
 
 
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