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(Code and Color Key)

England in 1819
-- Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)
Analysis Key

Note: I was asked to analyze this poem, and I did my best, but as you will see, Shelley wrenches the norms of sentence structure, probably intentionally to add tension to his ideas. But I am not an English scholar, and certainly not a specialist on Shelley.

An old, mad, blind, despised, and dying king [#1] --

Princes [#1], the dregs [#2] {of their dull race}, [Adj. to "Princes"  who flow

{Through public scorn} -- mud [#3] {from a muddy spring};]

Rulers [#1] [Adj. to "Rulers"  who neither see, nor feel, nor know,

But leechlike {to their fainting country} cling,

[Adv. to "cling" Til they drop, blind [#4] {in blood}, {without a blow}]];

A people [#1] starved [#5] and stabbed [#5] {in the untilled field} --

An army [#1], [Adj. to "army" which liberticide (DO) and prey (DO)

Makes [#6] {as a two-edged sword} {to all} [Adj. to "all"  who wield]];

Golden and sanguine laws [#1] [Adj. to "laws"  which tempt and slay];

Religion [#1] Christless, Godless -- a book sealed [#7] ;

A Senate [#1] -- Time's worst statute unrepealed [#8] --

Are graves (PN), [Adj. to "graves" {from which} a glorious Phantom may

Burst, to illumine our tempestuous day [#9] ]. |

1. Although  the punctuation raises some questions, it seems to me that "king," "Princes," "Rulers," "people," "army," "Religion," and "Senate" are all subjects of "Are (graves)."
2. "Dregs" is an appositive to "Princes."
3. The word "mud" probably functions as an appositive to "who," or, alternatively, to "Princes" or "dregs." Syntactically, however, it could also be an appositive to "scorn." If so, it seems to suggest that both the rulers and the public are objects of scorn. In essence, it suggests confusion, a confusion that may be, according to the last line, illumined by a "glorious Phantom." (The Peterloo Massacre, to which some of the poem alludes, occurred on August 19, 1819, i.e., not in the spring. Thus "muddy spring" appears to be an allusion to something else.)
4. "Blind" is a post-positioned adjective to "they."
5. "Starved" and "stabbed" are gerundives to "people."
6. These two lines add to the confusion because the subject and complement of "makes" can be reversed-- liberticide and prey (considered as one thing) makes the army into a two-edged sword to all who wield it, it being either the sword or the army.
7. "Christless" and "Godless" are post-positioned adjectives to "Religion." I would read "a book sealed" as a noun absolute that functions as an appositive to "Religion," but most grammarians would probably see "book" as the appositive and "sealed" as a modifier (KISS gerundive) to "book."
8. This functions as does "book sealed," except that it is in apposition to "Senate."
9. "Day" is the direct object of the infinitive "to illumine" which functions as an adverb to "may burst." Note that, just as "Phantom" is mysterious, so is the function of "to illumine." Is it an adverb of purpose, or of result? There is a major difference.