Sunday, April 11, 2010

Book Week 15 - O is for Ozymandias

 Book Week XV

The battle of two poets

Percy Shelley and Horace Smith had a competition and both wrote a poem for the same magazine about the same subject - Egyptian Pharoah Ramesses II 

Ozymandias by 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.

Ozymandias by Horace Smith
(1779 - 1849)

In Egypt's sandy silence, all alone,
Stands a gigantic Leg, which far off throws
The only shadow that the Desert knows:
"I am great OZYMANDIAS," saith the stone,
"The King of Kings; this mighty City shows
"The wonders of my hand." The City's gone,
Nought but the Leg remaining to disclose
The site of this forgotten Babylon.
We wonder, and some Hunter may express
Wonder like ours, when thro' the wilderness
Where London stood, holding the Wolf in chace,
He meets some fragments huge, and stops to guess
What powerful but unrecorded race
Once dwelt in that annihilated place.

What do you think and which one do you prefer?  


Link to your reviews


  1. I like both poems, but I think I like the one by Smith the best. We've been doing poetry study and memorizatino for a couple of years and it is soo rich! Thanks for posting these = )!

  2. Interesting! I had not known about Smith or the competition. I do like the Smith one and its reflection on our own future, but I can't pick between the two.

  3. I tend to like Shelly's style... but there really isn't any concrete reason, so I can't explain why. :)

  4. I left a link... unfortunately I'm several books behind right now! Hope I can catch up soon!

  5. I'm behind but undaunted! I know I will catch up without much effort once our homeschool co-op is over this week! Yippee!


Thank you for your kind comments.