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 Work, 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.”


A letter from the sculptor of the monument from Ozymandias

Dear Cleo,

Hi, how are you? I miss you so much! I hope I am able to come home soon… But you know what kind of person Ozymandias is. Is everything ok with the baby? I will send you all the money I earn immediately.
You know I got another job at Ozymandias’ palace, right? Turns out: I have to sculpt a huge monument for him. This crazy project will take years to finish. To make it even more fun: it will be standing in the middle of the desert, in the middle of nowhere!
The only reason that he wants this monument to be made is that he wants to be remembered.
Till the end of time. Isn’t being the mightiest and most well-known king in this century not enough? How arrogant can you be?

He wants a statue of his whole body with, of course, a really ‘unselfish’ text on the pedestal:

“My name is Ozymandias, King of kings; Look on my Work, ye Mighty, and despair!”

But doesn’t he know no one can beat the test of Time? Everybody will eventually be forgotten! Even Ozymandias! You can be as rich, mighty, famous and powerful as you want, but over thousands and thousands of years, nobody will even ever have heard of his name. People will find this statue in the middle of the desert and, hopefully, see what an arrogant person he was.

Wow, now I am writing you, I got an idea! A really good idea, though I say so myself. Since I have the power of presenting Ozymandias any way I want… I will give his face the ice-cold expression he always has! Maybe even with his signature frown and a little sneer on his lips. Then they will understand what kind of personality Ozymandias had, don’t you think?

I’m sorry, Ozymandias demands me to start right now with the statue. The block of stone is ready to work with. My next letter will be longer, I promise!

I hope to be hearing from you soon!
Lots of love,


by Anonymous


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