Ozymandius – Shelley

By Percy Bysshe Shelley

I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read,
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed,
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look upon my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Notes from here:

The name Ozymandias (or Osymandias) is generally believed to refer to Ramesses the Great (i.e., Ramesses II), Pharaoh of the Nineteenth dynasty of ancient Egypt.

“Ozymandias” was written in December 1817 during a writing contest, and first published in 1818.”

The poem deals with …themes, such as the arrogance and transience of power, the permanence of real art and emotional truth….

Published on May 7, 2007 at 12:27 pm  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. this could also refer to king Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. See the Old Testament book of Daniel, chapter 4. It is a perfect fit.


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