Prometheus Unbound "The Dust Of Creeds Outworn"

Percy Bysshe Shelley

"The Dust Of Creeds Outworn"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: The Titan Prometheus, chained to a precipice in the Indian Caucasus, is tortured by the evil Jupiter because he refused to tell who will overthrow the tyranny of heaven; however, he has suffered so long that he has lost his bitterness and no longer hates his tormenter. Panthea and Ione are seated at his feet when the Phantasm of Jupiter reminds the Titan of his awful curse, and they hear Prometheus repent of his rash anger, but when Mercury comes with the Furies and offers him a life of ignoble ease if he will reveal his dread secret, he refuses to coöperate with evil. As a result, the Furies unleash their worst, but Prometheus, who has learned the secret of suffering love, is able to withstand them until they show him a vision of "a youth/ With patient looks nailed to a crucifix." Such a vision tortures him more than any physical pain could, and as he writhes in agony, Earth calls up the spirits of human thought to comfort him. The quotation is from the First Spirit's song:

On a battle-trumpet's blast
I fled hither, fast, fast, fast,
'Mid the darkness upward cast.
From the dust of creeds outworn,
From the tyrant's banner torn,
Gathering 'round me, onward borne,
There was mingled many a cry–
Freedom! Hope! Death! Victory!
Till they faded through the sky;
And one sound, above, around,
One sound beneath, around, above,
Was moving; 'twas the soul of Love, . . .