Thursday, 18 February 2010

Ozymandias - KIng of Kings

I've mentioned before that I've been enjoying listening to the BBC's A History of the World in 100 objects series. The poem I've chosen to showcase this week was inspired by a recent episode about this bust of Pharaoh Ramesses II, although Shelley had probably not actually seen the sculpture first hand.

Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley

I met a traveller 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 on 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"

More about the sculpture can be found here and there's more about the poem here.


Click here for more poetry.

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