Shelley’s classic sonnet
This is one of the great sonnets of all time and most people seem to remember it from school days.
It is a brilliant testimony to the arrogance of autocratic power and the inevitability of mortality.
One can even see a message about climate change: a concept Percy Bysshe Shelley would never have heard of.
It is a timeless poem which has plenty of relevance for our 21st century world.
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.”
Percy Bysshe Shelley