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ozymandiasI 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 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.”

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3 replies to this post
  1. What is moving in this poem is not its message, but the deep sense of Time it gives the reader, similar to that in the scene at the sphinx with Caesar and Cleopatra in Shaw’s play of that name.

  2. I’m always struck at how anthologized this poem is. It’s a good poem for what it is, but frankly it’s on the amateur side. It’s not exactly filled with any skilled poetic lines and while it illustrates the message well, it’s not even close to original. Nor does it even fit into the Romanticist’s themes of Shelley’s day. It’s almost as if Shelley imitated Horace, or some other Roman poet.

  3. Manny’s comment reminds me of a conclusion that I came to years ago, although not applicable to this poem. Shelly’ poetry is neither bad nor good, but what I call neutral. His admirers like him because of his themes, while those who dislike him are antipathetic to them..

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