Thursday, September 21, 2023

"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.

Source of the text - John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley, Complete Poetical Works.  New York: The Modern Library, 1932, page 589.

TJB: Tyrant, interrupted. The sonnet’s first 11 lines are a breathless Russian doll of a nested sentence; the colossal wreck reminds us of its poet.

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