'Ye are many - they are few!' Jeremy Corbyn quotes Shelley at Glastonbury
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn enlisted the power of poetry when he delivered a rousing speech to thousands at Glastonbury music festival at the weekend. Concluding his speech on the main Pyramid stage by quoting Shelley, “one of my favourite poets”, he said: “I’m inspired by many poets, and by many people.”
The lines he quoted are these, from ‘The Masque of Anarchy’, written after the Peterloo Massacre in 1819: “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!”
Earlier in his speech Corbyn spoke about inspiring chidlren. He said: "We achieve inspiration through lots of things. In every child there is a poem, in every child there is a painting, in every child there is music. But as people get a bit older they get embarrassed about it, ‘Ooh, can’t be thinking that sort of thing, can’t be writing poetry.’ No! I want all of our children to be inspired, all of our children to have the right to learn music, write poetry and to paint in the way that they want."
There’s always poetry at Glastonbury, of course … Kate Tempest delivered a very political opening to her set, taking aim at Theresa May, to great acclaim. And appearing at the festival's regular Poetry & Words stage this year were John Hegley, Luke Wright, Phill Jupitus, Jemima Foxtrot, Jonny Fluffypunk, Emily Harrison, Scott Tyrrell, Kieren King, Toria Garbutt, Anna Freeman, Laurie Bolger, Paul Varjack, Murray Lachlan Young, the Antipoet, and Elvis McGonagall, to name but a few. Poet in residence was Dominic Berry, and also in attendance was experimental poet Winston Plowes, a Glastonbury regular, with his Spoke-n-Word Random Poetry Generating Bicycle.