I’m sure, that being persons of distinction and discernment, my readers will be familiar with Mt Shelley’s sonnet “Ozymandias“, a poem about the fall of great men and the end of empires. And sand.

However, how about this one by Mr Horace Smith. The title is not quite so snappy and it may be that the language is not quite so eloquent, nor does it feature quite so much sand, but I quite like it, and actually find it quite refreshing. However, it was written as part of a friendly competition between the two men and, let’s face it, the Shelley poem won, despite my feelings on the matter.


In Egypt’s sandy silence, all alone,
Stands a gigantic Leg, which far off throws
The only shadow that the Desart 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 fragment huge, and stops to guess
What powerful but unrecorded race
Once dwelt in that annihilated place.

Things are a little fraught at the moment and sometimes it’s good to read a poem to remind yourself that things have always been bad for someone. A trouble shared is, after all, a thing of beauty and there is nothing like seeing someone else in trouble to cheer yourself up.


6 thoughts on “Ozymandias

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