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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Percy Bysshe Shelley - "Ozymandias"

I thought this might be of interest to readers. One of the main characters in WATCHMEN Is Adrian Viedt, who initially fights crime under the pseudonym Ozymandias. Here's Shelley's poem:

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

And HERE'S more info on the poem, with this commentary:

"The central theme of Ozymandias is mankind's hubris. In fourteen short lines, Shelley condenses the history of not only Ozymandias' rise, peak, and fall, but also that of an entire civilization. Shelley suggests all works of humankind - and humans themselves - are transitory. Whether a Pharaoh or peasant, we are mortal."

(Ozymandias was another name for Ramesses the Great, Pharaoh of the nineteenth dynasty of ancient Egypt.)

Just some food for thought.



At 2/21/2009 3:27 PM, Blogger Joe said...

Thanks for bringing a bit o' poetry to this fine website, good sir!


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