Poem of the Week #9: Ozymandias (Shelley)

Since I am currently sofa surfing, I am shorn of all my poetry books. So rather than tracking down something more obscure, I’m going to plump for possibly my favourite poem of all time – Ozymandias by Percy Shelly. Plus, I watched Watchmen on Monday, which makes this poem somewhat more timely…


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.



Filed under Poem of the Week

5 responses to “Poem of the Week #9: Ozymandias (Shelley)

  1. Joe


    Shelley was metal.

  2. Thom

    Riddle me this – even a cursory glance at the poem should worn you off using ‘Ozymandias’ as your nom de guerre, especially if you’ve a mind for world domination. So why does he do it?

    Similarly – the Ozymandias character in John Christopher’s Tripods books. He’s just inviting nemesis, surely?

  3. Frank

    I took a look at your blog today and, to my delight, I discovered that you too are an Ozymandias fan. Ever since I was a kid, it has been one of my favourites and is one of the few I have ever bothered to memorise!

    Keep well, go well.

  4. zentimo

    Thanks Frank (this is Tim, writing in my blogging superhero name). It is a marvel of a poem – it terrifies me whenever I read it, though I am never sure quite why…

  5. Dan

    Stringer, Avon, Marlo, Prop Joe, Clay Davis, Frank Sobotka, Burrell, Royce, Bodie, Ozymandias… They all fall, man.

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