Then the King glowed: his nobles fold round, like the sun of old time quenched in clouds;
In their darkness the King stood, his heart flamed, and uttered a withering heat, and these words burst forth:
‘The nerves of five thousand years’ ancestry tremble, shaking the heavens of France;
Throbs of anguish beat on brazen war foreheads, they descend and look into their graves.
I see through darkness, through clouds rolling round me, the spirits of ancient kings
Shivering over their bleaches bones; round them their counsellors look up from the dust,
Crying: “Hide from the living! Our bands and our prisoners shout in the open field,
Hide in the nether earth! Hide in the bones! Sit obscured in the hollow skull.
Our flesh is corrupted, and we wear away. We are not numbered among the living. Let us hide
In stones, among roots of trees. The prisoners have burst their dens,
Let us hide; let us hide in the dust; and plague and wrath and tempest shall cease.”’
from ‘The French Revolution’ - William Blake
I had no patience to enter into remonstrance and explanation with the uninstructed inhabitants of my present residence. I had seen too much of the reign of triumphant falsehood to have that sanguine confidence in the effects of my innocence, which would have suggested itself to the mind of any other person of my propensities and my age. I could not endure the thought of opposing the venom that was thus scattered against me, in detail and through its minuter particles.
Mr Falkland had always been to my imagination an object of wonder, and that which excites our wonder we scarcely ever suppose ourselves competent to analyse.
I compared them to death, which must infallibly overtake us, we know not when; but the possibility of whose arrival next year, next week, tomorrow, must be left out of the calculation of him who would enter upon any important or well concerted undertaking.
But the law has neither eyes, nor ears, nor bowels of humanity; and it turns into marble the hearts of all those that are nursed in its principles.
This is the form in which Tyranny and injustice oblige me to seek for refuge; but better, a thousand times better is it, thus to incur contempt with the dregs of mankind, than to trust to the tender mercies of our superiors!