Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/17259
Peterloo remembered in verse
In 1819, on 16 August, 20 workers were killed and 500 injured at St Peter's field in Manchester. 80,000 Lancastrians had assembled to peacefully protest at the lack of voting rights and the worsening economic situation.
The injuries and deaths were caused by cavalry charges, unleashed by local majistrates.
The poet Shelley commemorated the event with a sympathetic poem.
Men of England, heirs of Glory,
Heroes of unwritten story,
Nurslings of one mighty Mother,
Hopes of her, and one another;
Rise like Lions after slumber,
In unvanquishable number,
Shake your chains to earth like dew,
Which in sleep had fallen on you -
Ye are many - they are few.
The second verse rings as true today as it did then.