Poetry Appreciation: ‘Ozymandias’ by Percy Bysshe Shelley

This post is a part of my ‘Poetry Appreciation’ segment wherein every once in a while I share a poem that I like. Today I’ve chosen Percy Bysshe Shelley’s ‘Ozymandias’.

About Percy Bysshe Shelley: Percy B. Shelley (4 August 1792 – 8 July 1822) is a well known Romantic poet. Some of his poems include –  ‘Ode to the West Wind’, ‘To a skylark’, ‘Music, When Soft Voices Die’, and ‘The Cloud’.

About ‘Ozymandias’: This poem was written by Shelley in a friendly competition with his friend and fellow poet Horace Smith (1779-1849) and was first published in 1818. The poem explores the notion of history with respect to time and depicts how something that can be so powerful and important at one point of history may not stand the ravages of time.


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.”


What do you think of the poem? And is there any poem that you would like to recommend?

Other poems in the poetry appreciation segment:

‘Marrying the Hangman’ by Margaret Atwood


2 thoughts on “Poetry Appreciation: ‘Ozymandias’ by Percy Bysshe Shelley

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