Percy Bysshe Shelley

(1792-1822 / Horsham / England)

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,
........................
........................
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  • Rookie - 902 Points Sagnik Chakraborty (9/10/2014 9:28:00 AM)

    Arguably the greatest sonnet in the English language. It encompasses multiple themes, ranging from the impermanence of earthly power and the futility of despotic ambition to the contrasting timelessness of artistry. The tyrant Rameses II of ancient Egypt, whose moniker was 'Ozymandias', for all the limitless godlike powers he enjoyed in his lifetime, is long dead and with him is gone all his great monuments and statues, withered by the all-consuming Time. A subtle hint is also there that the unnamed sculptor still lives on through his perfect portrayal of Ozymandias's features. The rhyme scheme is difficult but effortlessly executed by the Master Poet. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Grant Charney (6/22/2014 7:54:00 PM)

    Really only heard of this poem when I watched Breaking Bad, but I learned to love this poem so much more than the show. (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 13,566 Points Gangadharan Nair Pulingat (6/22/2014 2:28:00 AM)

    Philosophical I think this is a great poem on the human destiny which lasts for a few years and goes to oblivion and whatever the power and positions may be the destiny awaits us as the ozymandias the mighty king in the poem. Great poet and great poem (Report) Reply

  • Bronze Star - 6,689 Points * Sunprincess * (6/17/2014 9:11:00 PM)

    .........a great message in this write....all creations can fall apart and crumble....but poetry can remain until the end of time..... (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Scott Lynch (6/16/2014 1:47:00 AM)

    This poem does have a few layers, that is true..but I believe it is about the sculptor in equal measure as his subject matter, that being the proud and vain King, and his colossal memorial to himself...I love the medium of Time, it heals, it destroys and most of all it humbles..If I was God I wouldn't tolerate my creations boastfulness either, ,3 score and 10, youre all fortunate I wouldn't giveaway nanosecond! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 8 Points 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. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie 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. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie 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. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie 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 (Report) Reply

  • Rookie B. Laxmi Priya (7/17/2013 9:08:00 AM)

    This is perhaps the most perfect poem in the entire English literature. Everything is there - story, rhyme, suspense, philosophy, humour, sorrow, conciseness, satire - everything that a perfect poem requires, in good measure. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie M-jane Lalli-phd (7/3/2013 10:09:00 PM)

    You really don't fully understand what a towering masterpiece this is, until you try to memorize its deceptively simple 14 lines. It took me a day, and all the time I was getting it wrong and substituting words that were close, but much worse than what he wrote. For instance, if he had started the poem: I met a traveler from an ancient land, or even worse, far away land, how generic the intro would be. But to so antique land...oh, how sublime that word choice. Later I made the mistake of reciting, the vast and lifeless legs of stone. Again, how heavy handed. How shocking and raw to write trunkless here. I then recited, lies a shattered visage, which of course is much less powerful than writing, a shattered visage lies, which builds suspense because you have the impact of the shattered visage first, and only then do you find out what it's doing, (or not, as the case may be) . Then I really botched line seven, saying first: That still exist, which is just pedestrian, and which yet endure, which is also not as powerful as what Shelley wrote, since it doesn't keep the beautiful, hissing, desert-wind s sound alive. I misquoted etched in place of stamped, which is just silly. The phrase stamped on these lifeless things, is so beautiful, it gives one goosies, as does Nothing beside remains, which is such beautiful use of language it ranks up there with And no birds sing. Then he starts reeling the poem in with Round the decay, and the hard d sounds to make everything concrete in our minds, as does the word wreck. Then he takes it all and tosses it into the wind with boundless and bare, and lone and level. The level of genius here is mesmerizing. There is not one useless or superfluous word. Wow! And that doesn't even address the subject matter. Beautiful in form and function. (Report) Reply

    Rookie - 902 Points Sagnik Chakraborty (9/10/2014 9:42:00 AM)

    Not a word superfluous, yet Shelley was known for his spontaneous writing as opposed to Keats. That's the reason I find Percy Bysshe Shelley the greatest of the Romantics!

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