Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Ozymandias reminds us that all great civilizations eventually decline.

"Ozymandias", by Percy Bysshe Shelley, c. 1817, upon the imminent arrival of a broken, eroded, ancient statue of Rameses II in London from Egypt.

I met a traveler 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 hat 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.

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