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Fragment: What Men Gain Fairly


[Published by Mrs. Shelley, "Poetical Works", 1839, 2nd edition.]

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, _5
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.

Percy Bysshe Shelley

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