Percy Bysshe Shelley

(1792-1822 / Horsham / England)

Ozymandias - Poem 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,
........................
........................
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Form: Sonnet


Comments about Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley

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

    Love Shelly... All time favorite poem.... Art is LONG life is SHORT (Report) Reply

    49 person liked.
    29 person did not like.
  • Rookie - 36 Points 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

    Veteran Poet - 1,428 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!

  • Rookie - 0 Points Amy Fisher (7/3/2013 4:09:00 AM)

    This is my favorite poem. A wonderful reminder of how fleeting power can be. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Wu Bee (1/1/2013 11:04:00 AM)

    This is a very great poem. I think it portrays how unavailing man's love for acquisition of power is; the mortality of man, including tyrants; and the temporality of every single thing and state in life. The poem is just beautiful. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Praneeth Kandula (10/25/2012 3:19:00 PM)

    ah... the bittersweet futility of life portrayed beautifully...! ! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Danjosh Zeus (4/4/2012 3:35:00 AM)

    it is a mockery to a boastful king who over used his power to dominate people without considering their rights as a human..thats the main purpose of the poem... (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Danjosh Zeus (4/3/2012 9:39:00 PM)

    such a great poem...the poem offers an ironic commentary on the fleeing nature of power. shelley did a great job on using implications effectively.it is a highly recommended poem of irony! : D (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 56 Points Sankaran Ayya (2/4/2012 6:57:00 AM)

    The last four lines are Shelley's acid spit on vain glory It is a great poem and my
    very very favorite poem.
    -KAVIN CHARALAN (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 27 Points Len Webster (6/3/2011 7:44:00 AM)

    A magnificent sonnet, combining the starkness of the desert with the folly of human ambition. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Somah Love (3/19/2010 2:26:00 PM)

    my friends i need help......how can i get the critical analysis of the poem? ? ? ? (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Joey Valenzuela (3/10/2010 8:09:00 PM)

    this poem implies that even how mighty and powerful the king is (or any ruler, or anybody) , he will still fall..........there are no permanent things in the world.....everything shall be ruined......

    but despite that fact, we cant deny that his might and power shall be remembered, in any ways.....like the statues, textbooks, even in the minds.........

    .......this poem is one among the many i liked...it was on our textbook when i was a junior..... (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Sarah Fetzer (3/10/2010 11:52:00 AM)

    This has always been one of my personal favorite poems. I love Shelley's beautiful yet haunting style. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Michael Pruchnicki (3/10/2010 9:14:00 AM)

    The speaker meets a tourist who tells him about legs of stone that stand trunkless in desert sands. Flash to the pyramids and the sphinx and the other crumbling reminders of lost civilizations in places like ancient Egypt and Greece and Rome, where empires once existed ruled by all-powerful tyrants like Rameses and the Caesars. Even the ruins left by Hitler's Third Reich in the 20th century bear mute testimony to 'the heart that fed' these monstrous passions. Keep in mind the anthem of Hitler's Germany - 'Today Germany, tomorrow the world! ' Whether or not the subjects of these realms, ancient or modern, have any say in the matter is irrelevant in the long run. Praise be that the deeds of their masters live on in the printed word as words of caution for us who have survived the most recent holocaust. It can't happen today! some of us cry. We're all in the know! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Kevin Straw (3/10/2010 6:01:00 AM)

    In the ancient world an enemy (tyrant or not) could be wiped of the face of the planet. The Ozymandias of today (Stalin, Hitler, Mao etc) live on in the printed word. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 142 Points Joseph Poewhit (3/10/2010 2:57:00 AM)

    Words have a haunting undertone. (Report) Reply

  • Freshman - 808 Points Ramesh T A (3/10/2010 12:39:00 AM)

    Before the desert nothing can stand forever however mighty an emperor may be! A wonderful sonnet of Shelley to remember! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Mario Rios Pinot (5/7/2009 4:47:00 PM)

    This poem is a bit of a cliche for those of us in the know but still merges the social criticism/ploitical and the poem by a master. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Kevin Straw (3/10/2009 7:52:00 AM)

    There's a reference to this poem in Planet of the Apes when Heston stumbles across the Statue of Liberty buried in the sand - a warning that if we allow power to go unchecked it will inevitably bring disaster. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Kiran Ashtekar (12/21/2008 9:40:00 AM)

    Firstly: Isn't P.B. Shelley famous for love poems? So how come he wrote this quite different one, in tone and meaning? Just curious.

    Secondly: The philosophy is one which has been preached in India for millennia, possibly. BUT - Isn't the current world expansion in scientific and constructive activity - in spite of all the bad things - a clear rejoinder to this kind of negativity?
    If we are talking about the arrogance and pride, that is no doubt deplorable. But works are not to be despised, though they have finite life!

    There are some very inspiring lines in Rudyard Kipling's 'If' poem about stooping to rebuild the destroyed works, calmly proceeding to be constructive in the midst of chaos. Is it not THIS that is called civilization, is it not this that keeps mankind going? Amidst terrorists' madnesses, natural upheavals, etc., the 'salt of the earth' just keep on! (Report) Reply










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