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,
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.'

Form: Sonnet

Comments about Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley

  • (6/8/2017 9:04:00 AM)

    Perhaps the trunk was used as building stone. The fate of many great works. I thought the line..The lone and level sands.. was poor English but I discovered Lone can mean remote, rarely visited. (Report) Reply

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  • (4/17/2017 10:26:00 AM)

    This is not a poem of things, or words. It is a poem about humanity and the failure of greed. Life is not a 'thing' to be tagged as wretched. It is a beautiful process that can be enhanced and uplifted or destroyed. If we base our success on self gratification and power hungry greed, then we doom ourselves and all involved.

    Time brings all luxuries of life - based on uplifting life, to a long and enduring existence. Death can only stop 'a' life. Ideas that are based on uplifting 'lives' grow on and become greater. Oxymandias fell because all he had was his tyranny.

    Consider the difference between Hitler and Ghandi. One had an 'Empire' and one had a 'purpose.' Ghandi has a legacy in history we all continue to grow from, even though he is dead. The other one can only offer what we need to avoid. Even though he had an empire, Hitler leaves us with only a bad memory. One man we honor and continue to learn from, the other we sneer and hiss at its evil memory. One stays alive, the other stays dead.

    Shelly teaches us far more than a simplistic lesson of what dies or decays. The fact that we know who Shelly was, and would know absolutely nothing of who Ozymandias was, had he not written that poem, screams his point clearly
    (Report) Reply

  • Joshua Adeyemi (4/13/2017 1:30:00 AM)

    'Boundless and bare'...Thanks for Sharing. (Report) Reply

  • (4/11/2017 11:00:00 AM)

    An ancient King of Egypt , Ramesis II erected a huge statue made of stone to retain his glory even after death. But war demolished the colossus just left a material for study to historians. (Report) Reply

  • Tom Allport (1/1/2017 3:02:00 PM)

    tom allport
    a poem sending us a message that nothing lasts, except maybe words? (Report) Reply

  • Chinedu Dike (12/12/2016 8:09:00 AM)

    My Best poem of all time. A rhetorical masterpiece piece. (Report) Reply

  • R Soos (11/21/2016 7:29:00 AM)

    Nothing beside remains
    Nothing beside remains except the fiction of history. Great poem! (Report) Reply

  • Clients Sefton (10/28/2016 3:40:00 PM)

    Ozymandias' work lies buried beneath the sand. Shelley's poem, written on the sand, cannot be buried neither by wind nor rain. (Report) Reply

  • (9/13/2016 6:23:00 AM)

    Megalomania and human pretension turning dust. (Report) Reply

  • Mizzy ........ (9/10/2016 2:02:00 PM)

    A first class Sonnet......Enjoyed! (Report) Reply

  • (7/17/2016 10:44:00 AM)

    It adds a whole other layer to this when you keep in mind Percy Shelley was like 29 when he died. (Report) Reply

  • (3/9/2016 6:17:00 PM)

    This I rate as the best poem Ive ever read. I read this poem at the age of twelve for it was a precribed poem in one of our text books. Since then I have been worried about his untimely death at this very young age. (Report) Reply

  • Moira Cameron (3/9/2016 3:36:00 PM)

    I don't know what I can possibly add to the comments below, except that I loved this. It is one of those 'wow' poems that touches several chords at once. (Report) Reply

  • Susan Williams (3/9/2016 2:29:00 PM)

    He wrote a great scene here to demonstrate the mutability of man''s creation- his poem seems to be lasting at this point (Report) Reply

  • Uzefa Rashida M.a (3/9/2016 12:10:00 PM)

    greatest poem and deepest message delivered. (Report) Reply

  • Kim Barney (3/9/2016 8:46:00 AM)

    Had to read it twice. It's very good. Nothing remains standing forever. (Report) Reply

  • Barry Middleton (3/9/2016 6:04:00 AM)

    One of the greatest poems ever written IMO. (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (3/9/2016 1:01:00 AM)

    Those passions! With the muse of life. Thanks for sharing. (Report) Reply

  • (2/24/2016 12:51:00 AM)

    Yash is a fool (Report) Reply

  • (12/4/2015 10:10:00 AM)


    What happened to the rest of the statue? I think the only explanation must be that the trunk was never delivered. They got the legs up on the pedestal, the head was damaged by falling off the transport, but the trunk never came, perhaps because they had run out of funds, or it was intercepted by enemies. Any other ideas?
    (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: despair, heart, passion, work

Poem Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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