Ozymandias by PB Shelley
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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.”

In Percy Bysshe Shelley‘s poem “Ozymandias,” a traveler recounts encountering the ruins of a statue in the desert. The shattered face indicates that the sculptor accurately captured the stern, commanding emotions of the figure, who is revealed through an inscription to be Ozymandias. Despite his past glory and immense pride encapsulated in the phrase “Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!“, all that remains of his empire is the eroded statue in an endless, uninhabited landscape. This narrative reflects on the ephemeral nature of power and glory. Nothing remains of Ozymandias’ realm but this decayed monument, serving as a powerful testimony to the transitory nature of human achievements.

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