Percy Bysshe Shelley

Fragment: What Men Gain Fairly

Percy Bysshe Shelley was one of the major English Romantic poets and is regarded by critics as among the finest lyric poets in the English language.






What men gain fairly -- that they should possess,
And children may inherit idleness,
From him who earns it—This is understood;
Private injustice may be general good.
But he who gains by base and armed wrong,
Or guilty fraud, or base compliances,
May be despoiled; even as a stolen dress
Is stripped from a convicted thief; and he
Left in the nakedness of infamy.

© Poetry.com