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      Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)


    I MET a Traveler from an antique land,
    Who said, "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
    Stand in the desart. 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!
    No thing beside remains. Round the decay
    Of that Colossal Wreck, boundless and bare,
    The lone and level sands stretch far away.


Inspired by Diodorus Siculus (Book 1, Chapter 47), Shelley and Horace Smith each wrote and submitted a sonnet on the subject to The Examiner. Shelley's was published on January 11, 1818 under the pen name Glirastes, and Smith's was published on February 1, 1818 with the initials H.S.

Shelley's poem was later published under the title Sonnet. Ozymandias in his collection Rosalind and Helen, A Modern Eclogue; with Other Poems.

The poem can be found in:

  • Original Poetry. (1818, January 11). The Examiner (London), p. 24.
  • Shelley, Percy Bysshe. The Complete Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley. Roger Ingpen & Walter E. Peck eds. New York: Gordian Press, 1965.