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.’
Letter to his Majesty the King George William Fredrick the Third,
Your Majesty, this letter is from our archaeological expedition in Egypt to inform you about the situation.
It was hot, incredibly hot. The temperatures were more than twenty degrees higher than what we’re used to in England. The sweat was dripping from my forehead and it seemed like we hadn’t moved for hours, as if we were still in the same place as miles back. Sand, sand and sand. It was all I could see. As unfortunate as I already was we had to climb the enormous mountain of almost melting sand in front of us and were about to give up our searching efforts. And out of the blue we saw two rocks peaking above the sandy hill. I wanted to sprint out of happiness of finally finding something but as exhausted as we already were we could barely walk. You wouldn’t believe me, Sire, when I say this, but they were two legs both around the size of a house. It was impossible to hide our feelings and after 10 seconds of gazing we started cheering that we found something. The body of the statue was nowhere to be seen, but the severed head lying was found moments later. His face had this emotionless look, but so much detail was carved into this once lifeless rock. A true, but cold-hearted leader is what he looked like. Like you, Your Majesty, he was the leader of an unconquerable and vast nation and still there’s only one broken statue left of this mighty empire. An entire people has disappeared from this planet. And the only record of them is the face and legs of a fallen king. This shows the importance of time. Minutes have passed while you, Your Majesty, read this, but the true power of time can’t be seen when taking these small steps. Hundreds of years ago our country didn’t exist, thousands of years ago God hadn’t created our species. That was what amazed me the most of our expedition. Time changes everything. We continued our expedition and brought the statue with us. I will write you as soon as we’ve come across more artefacts.
I have the honour to remain, Sir, Your Majesty’s most humble and obedient servant.
Albert George Cosgrove,
Leader of the King George’s expedition in Egypt.