Ozymandias (Percy Bysshe Shelley)


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.’


Once upon a time in the West there was a little town. It was a very peaceful town with about fifty citizens. They were the only people there in a large desert. No one else would be so crazy to go to that place. It was rather boring. Each day was just like the previous day. Till an certain day, because this day would totally change someone´s live.

It was Sunday in the afternoon. On Sunday everyone is free, just as God had taken his free day. It was very peaceful like always, also in the desert around the village. Suddenly there was a dust-cloud, which became continually bigger and bigger and it came closer and closer. You could see a silhouette from a man on a horse. It was Lucky Luke. No, I am joking I don’t know who he was, actually nobody knows, and no one will ever know. Then he entered the village and after he had nearly rode old lady Johnson down, who unsuspectingly crossed the street, he stopped in front of the Saloon. He fastened his horse and he entered the Saloon. Everyone was actively talking with each other, but everyone stopped, when they saw him. They all looked at him, but he did not mind them and he set himself down by the bar. He ordered a whole lunch, because he was hungry. When he was finished, he called the barkeeper and he asked him the following: “I am looking for someone, who comes sometimes in this area here. Do you know someone?” He pointed out the area he meant on his map. The barkeeper looked momentarily weird at him and asked then: “Who are you? And why did you ask this to me?” He answered: “It doesn’t matter who I am and I ask this to you, because you are the barkeeper. You know everyone in this village, except for me.” “Yes, that is true, but who would say that we can trust. Maybe you are a dangerous psychopath”, said the barkeeper. “I don’t have time for this nonsense. You must help me”, said he and he looked at him deep in his eyes.

“Okay fine”, said the barkeeper, “do you see that man there? That is Jack. He has a farm and he is sometimes in that area with his cows.” “Thanks”, he stood up and he would go, but then the barkeeper said: “Wait, you haven’t paid for this lunch yet.” After he paid his lunch, he went to Jack and he asked Jack to come with him outwards. A few minutes later went Jack back in the Saloon. His friends asked him: “Who is that man? What does he want from you?” Jack had no idea, the only thing he knew, was that the stranger would visit him this evening.

That evening rang the bell by the Family Waes. Mrs. Mary Waes opened the door and there right before her eyes stood he. She was frightened to death. Who was he? What was this total stranger intending? He asked: “Where is your man, Jack?”

“Uh… who are you?”, stuttered Mary. “That doesn’t matter. Your man knows that I would come, so where is he?”, said he. His piercing eyes did the work for him and she pointed him to cowshed. “There is Jack”. He walked straight on to the cowshed. Jack was surprised. Jack had not thought that the stranger would know where he lives, but there stood. He asked: “I must talk to you, Jack.” “Who is there?”, said an unknown voice. “Who is that”,asked he. “Oh, that is our son, Michael”, said Jack, “It is nobody, Michael” Michael appeared and said: “He looked to me as somebody. Who are you.” “Not now, Michael, he has to talk with me”, said Jack.

“No, I will tell who I am”, said he, “I am a man on a mission.” He grabbed his map. “And to succeed, I need someone, who can help me to find the way in this area.

I know that you sometimes come there, Jack”. “Yes dad, we came there formerly with the cows”, said Michael. “Yeah, but we don’t come there any more. It is to dangerous now. For some reason has there arisen a lot of shrubbery”, said Jack.

“So you know that area very well”, said he. “Yes, but we won’t go there”, said Jack.

“I would like to go”, said Michael. “No, you don’t go there. Are you forgotten what happened there?”, said Jack. “No, of course no.” “So, don’t be so stupid”, said Jack.

“I am now eighteen and I decide by myself, what I do and don’t do. This is the perfectly select chance to be a few days away from the farm,” said Michael. “You are right. You have the right to choose by yourself, but your Mother and I find this not a good plan”. “Dad, you don’t have to worry”, said Michael, “In a few days I would safely back at home”. “Yes we will be a few days away”, said he, “we would be back before you can say the word: Waterpolo”. “Nothing to worry about, dad.” After that he and Michael arranged what the plan was. They agreed that he tomorrow in the morning would come to pick up Michael. Then would the Journey start.

The next morning they went on their journey to…., Uh…, we actually do not know were they are going to, but they went to something. The first part was very easy. Close by the village, where other people often walk, but the further they go the more difficult it was. Michael knows the road and they were already at twelve o’clock by the border of the concerned area. By the border was a sign: ‘Stop, go back, extremely dangerous’. “My father has placed this sigh here”, said Michael. “Why?”, asked he. “I won’t preferably tell you why”, said Michael. “In that case I don’t have to know”. They went on, but It was rather difficult to went through the shrubbery. The nature was free here and that was noticeable. They went further till the point Michael said: “This is the furthest I have ever been in this area, after this I don’t recognize it any more”. “Okay than, we are going to spend the night here”, said he, “Tomorrow we must do it with only the map and our well thinking mind”. They sat around a self-made camp-fire, when Michael asked: “What are you looking for here in this area?” “I would explain it”, said he, “Centuries ago was here a great empire, named Ozym, and his king was Ozymandias. Ozymandias found himself the greatest king ever. For his greatness, he let build a statue of himself. There is being said that this statue is the biggest statue ever made.” “So you are looking for that statue”, interrupted Michael. “Yes, and according to some old scriptures is this statue the only thing left from Ozym and in the same scriptures stand that the statue is located somewhere in this area.” “Wow, it would be awesome if we find that ancient statue”, said Michael, “But how precisely do you know the place of it?” “Enough to know which way we must go”, said he, “Don’t worry, all will be fine at the end.”

The next day they went on with a good feeling. They looked good on the map to indicate their way. Suddenly there was an open place with only sand and no shrubbery. “Are we still on the good way”, asked Michael. “Yes, this place stands also on the map and we are indeed still on the good way”. “Great”, said Michael and Michael walked on, but after a few steps he felt over a stone. “Wow, that is weird there is no other stone in this whole area”, said Michael after he stood up. “Wait, maybe is this a stone of the statue”, said he, “Come, we are going to dig this stone up”. They grabbed their shovel and they dug the stone up. “Look, there is a text

on it”, said Michael, “What does it mean?” “Let me see”, said he, “It’s an ancient language. They spoke this language in Ozym. It’s called Urath and luckily I can read it a little bit. There stands: ‘My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings, Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!’ “Haha, he found himself really great, didn’t he”, said Michael. “With emphasis on the word ‘found’, said he cynical, “he died a long time…

He was being interrupted by the sand, what slowly slid away. “Wow, what is happening!”, shouted Michael. “Go back, Go back”, said he, “we must go back to a secure place”. “Where is that secure place”, shouted Michael. “There by the shrubs, there is a secure place”, said he. They both managed them self safely to that place. They looked around and they saw the all the sand disappearing. When the most of  the sand was disappeared, there lays the big statue of Ozymandias. “Wow, the text on that stone looks to be a aphorism”, said Michael. “Yes, you’re right”, said he,“And  there is Ozymandias. We stood already above him.” “You didn’t lie, it is really big”, said Michael, “And surprisingly it is in such a good condition.” He looked to the statue and he gets twinkling eyes. “It lays here under the sand for centuries”, said he, “Now we have found it, it is unbelievable. I’ve worked so hard to find Ozymandias and now finally the work is done.” “What are your plans now with it?”, asked Michael. “Hmm, It’s to big to transport and to set this in a museum”, said he, “So it will stay here and I think that there are more people, who want to see Ozymandias.”

“And we will be known as the finders of Ozymandias”, said Michael, “That should be great”. They were looking to each other and they both felt very satisfied. The next five minutes they just were staring to the statue. “Soon there will go millions of people to this place to see Ozymandias”, said he, “Ozym may be gone, but the remembrance of it always existed and still exist and that is what we will show the world: a remembrance of Ozym and Ozymandias. Material things will disappear first, but the thoughts, which belongs to those things will be remembered. But there comes a day that even those thoughts will disappear and then it is all gone, for ever.”

“Now we have found Ozymandias, would become the remembrance of Ozym much bigger”, said Michael. “Yes, you are right, but that is momentarily as well. Time absorbs everything.” After he had said this, they went back to home. And when they have told the world about Ozymandias, they will be known as the finders of the statue of Ozymandias. “Yes we will be famous, but also we will be forgotten at some time”, said the man, whose name we still do not know.

by Wouter Kroon


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