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(1792-1822 / Horsham / England)

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Ozymandias

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.'

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002


Read poems about / on: despair, heart, passion, work

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Comments about this poem (Alastor: or, the Spirit of Solitude by Percy Bysshe Shelley )

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  • Lorraine Margueritte Gasrel Black (4/2/2014 10:35:00 AM)

    All things pass everything always changes...he must have seen the ruins in Turkey...

    1 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • Lorraine Margueritte Gasrel Black (4/2/2014 10:35:00 AM)

    All things pass everything always changes...he must have seen the ruins in Turkey...

  • Elijah Begin (2/26/2014 11:14:00 AM)

    I like boyz and this poem

  • Thomas Vaughan Jones (1/15/2014 12:42:00 PM)

    The sonnet is the flagship of formal poetry, and this powerful story brings to us the certainty that nothing lasts forever. Kings and nobles, poets and peasants must all take that final walk into obscurity, pride and poverty must all perish in the march of Time. King David's lament How are the Mighty fallen and the weapons of war perished. Sir Walter Raleigh wrote in his verse TIME. Time.. leads us unerring to the grave, and pays us back in earth and dust carry the same message. Me thinks these poets are trying to tell us something.

  • Vee Soar (1/1/2014 11:06:00 AM)

    Line eleven has an incredible double meaning. When the statue was whole, this King invited others to see how great he was and to despair that they could never achieve what he had achieved. It takes on a whole new meaning when the statue - and the kingdom - have fallen. See it says how even the great and mighty fall, so despair

    As one poster said, our present leaders could well take a lesson from this, especially the self important tyrants, including those who continue to trash our beautiful planet home for their own greed.

  • Brandon Beach (9/22/2013 12:27:00 AM)

    I also came here because of Breaking Bad. I like this poem but I think I like The Raven better. Especially
    the reading done on the Simpsons.

    I don't think this poem is about Ozymandias at all. I think this poem is about the sculptor that made the stutue and the mutability of art. Unlike Shelley's friend Keats who sees art as an unchanging cold pastoral (see Ode to a Grecian Urn) , Shelley sees art and it's meaning as something that changes even after it leaves the artists hand. When the sculptor made this statue he was attempting to create a statue that evoked fear, awe and wonder. Now many years later this statue has a completely different meaning that the artist did not intend or even contemplate.

    Yet, though changing art is still imortal. Though time breaks down, decays, and changes the meaning of the statue, it survives. It goes from statue, to a story told to a traveler and then to Shelley's poem living on long after the desert turns the statue to dust.

  • Jacob Nelson (9/18/2013 10:08:00 PM)

    @M-jane Lalli-phd

    It took you all day? Hows that PHD coming along? Got it down in 15 minutes

  • Angel Vickrey (9/9/2013 12:52:00 AM)

    Breaking Bad........................................!

  • Loren Booker (9/8/2013 10:42:00 PM)

    Breaking Bad brought me here...

  • Naganathan S (7/24/2013 8:40:00 AM)

    Love Shelly... All time favorite poem.... Art is LONG life is SHORT

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