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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 shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock'd 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.
P.B. SHELLEY., THE GOLDEN TREASURY Of the best Songs and Lyrical Pieces In the English Language Selected by Francis Turner Palgrave
Notes: Ozymandias was another name for Ramesses the Great, Pharaoh of the nineteenth dynasty of ancient Egypt. The central theme of this sonnet is the inevitable decline of all leaders, and of the empires they build, however mighty in their own time.
Published in 1818. It is frequently anthologized and is probably Shelley's most famous short poem. It was written in competition with his friend Horace Smith, who wrote another sonnet entitled "Ozymandias".
In addition to the power of its themes and imagery, the poem is notable for its virtuosic diction. The rhyme scheme of the sonnet is unusual and creates a sinuous and interwoven effect.
"SparkNotes: Shelley's Poetry: "Ozymandias"". SparkNotes. https://www.sparknotes.com/poetry/shelley/section2.rhtml. Retrieved 2008-02-26.
Tags: Egypt, Pharaoh, sonnet, famous

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