"Ozymandias" (11px //, pronounced with 4 syllables in order to fit the poem's meter) is a sonnet by Percy Bysshe Shelley, published in 1818. Frequently anthologised, it is probably Shelley's most famous short poem. It was written in competition with his friend Horace Smith, who wrote another sonnet entitled "Ozymandias" seen below.
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.'
The central theme of "Ozymandias" is the inevitable complete decline of all leaders, and of the empires they build, however mighty in their own time.(Citation needed)
Ozymandias was another name for Ramesses the Great, Pharaoh of the nineteenth dynasty of ancient Egypt. Ozymandias represents a transliteration into Greek of a part of Ramesses' throne name, User-maat-re Setep-en-re. The sonnet paraphrases the inscription on the base of the statue, given by Diodorus Siculus in his Bibliotheca historica as "King of Kings am I, Osymandias. If anyone would know how great I am and where I lie, let him surpass one of my works." Shelley's poem is often said to have been inspired by the arrival in London of a colossal statue of Ramesses II, acquired for the British Museum by the Italian adventurer Giovanni Belzoni in 1816. Rodenbeck and Chaney, however, point out that the poem was written and published before the statue arrived in Britain, and thus that Shelley could not have seen it. Its repute in Western Europe preceded its actual arrival in Britain (Napoleon had previously made an unsuccessful attempt to acquire it for France, for example), and thus it may have been its repute or news of its imminent arrival rather than seeing the statue itself which provided the inspiration.
The 2008 edition of the travel guide Lonely Planet's Guide to Egypt says that the poem was inspired by the fallen statue of Ramesses II at the Ramesseum, a memorial temple built by Ramesses at Thebes, near Luxor. in Upper Egypt. This statue, however, does not have "two vast and trunkless legs of stone", nor does it have a "shattered visage" with a "frown / And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command." (In fact, all statues of Egyptian kings have a uniform expression of serene benevolence.) Nor does the base of the statue at Thebes have any inscription, although Ramesses's cartouche is inscribed on the statue itself.
Among the earlier senses of the verb "to mock" is "to fashion an imitation of reality" (as in "a mock-up"), but by Shelley's day the current sense "to ridicule" (especially by mimicking) had come to the fore.
This sonnet is often incorrectly quoted or reproduced. The most common misquotation – "Look upon my works, ye Mighty, and despair!" – replaces the correct "on" with "upon", thus turning the regular decasyllabic (iambic pentameter) verse into an 11-syllable line.
Smith's poem Edit
Percy Shelley apparently wrote his poem in competition with his friend Horace Smith, who published his sonnet a month after Shelley's in the same magazine. It was originally published under the same title as Shelley's verse; but in later collections Smith retitled it "On A Stupendous Leg of Granite, Discovered Standing by Itself in the Deserts of Egypt, with the Inscription Inserted Below".
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.—Horace Smith.
It takes the same subject, tells the same story, and makes a similar moral point, but one related more directly to modernity, ending by imagining a hunter of the future looking in wonder on the ruins of an annihilated London.
Edward Elgar began a musical setting but never finished it. The best known setting appears to be that in Russian for baritone by the Ukrainian composer Borys Lyatoshynsky.
In popular cultureEdit
- Terry Carr's science fiction short story Ozymandias was inspired by the poem.
- Ozymandias (real name Adrian Veidt) is a character in the comic book limited series Watchmen. The inscription in Shelley's poem forms the epigraph to the penultimate issue of the series.
- In Marvel Comics, Ozymandias is a former Egyptian warlord, turned into immortal living stone, who was the slave and chronicler of the villain Apocalypse.
- In The White Mountains, the first novel in John Christopher's post-apocalyptic trilogy The Tripods, a character named Ozymandias quotes the poem.
- Coker, a character in John Wyndham's The Day of the Triffids, recites a piece of the poem to Bill Masen, the main character.
- Jefferson Starship's 1976 album Spitfire starts its second side with "Song to the Sun: Part I: Ozymandias / Part II: Don't Let It Rain".
- The Sisters of Mercy recorded a song called "Ozymandias", which featured as a B-side on the 12-inch single of "Dominion/Mother Russia". The lyrics of "Dominion" include the final line of Shelley's poem.
- In Tom Clancy's novel The Hunt for Red October, the poem is quoted by Jack Ryan as he hands over the keys to the ballistic missiles of the eponymous submarine.
- In Frisky Dingo the character Killface reads part of the poem in the first episode of the first season.
- The poem is referenced in post-hardcore band Million Dead's song "Relentless" on their album A Song to Ruin. Million Dead's former singer Frank Turner again referenced it in "One Foot Before The Other" on his album England Keep My Bones.
- The B-side of Jean-Jacques Burnel's 1979 7" single Freddie Laker (Concorde & Eurobus) was Ozymandias, which contained a recitation of Shelley's poem.
- In Sid Meier's computer game Civilization IV, the inscription in the poem is read by Leonard Nimoy after the construction technology is researched.
- In Piers Anthony's book "For Love of Evil" Ozymandias is imprisoned in hell. The sonnet plays a central role to a sub-plot that has Satan recruiting Ozymandias as an administrator for Hell.
- In Cryptic comet's post-apocalyptic computer strategy game Armageddon Empires, the Imperial resource gathering support unit is called "MRC-11 Ozymandius".
- In the How I Met Your Mother episode, Landmarks, Ted Mosby recites the line "Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair."
- Monty Python's Flying Circus parodies the poem to be instead about ants in one of the series' episodes.
- Gatsbys American Dream has recorded a song with the title "My Name is Ozymandias".
- Fourth studio album of German neofolk band Qntal is called Ozymandias. Lyrics for the tracks Ozymandias 1 and Ozymandias 2 are taken from Shelley's poem.
- In Harrods department store, the quote from the poem appears on the wall by the escalators, in an Egyptian-style bas-relief.
- In Cracks the character Poppy recites the poem.
- In Fallout 3, DLC - Point Lookout, the USS Ozymandias is a ship and location forming part of the "An Antique Land" quest.
- In Dana Simpson's webcomic "Ozy and Millie", the name Ozymandias for one of the title characters (full name Ozymandias Justin Llewellyn) was inspired by Shelley's poem.
- Reiman, Donald H. and Sharon B. Powers. Shelley's Poetry and Prose. Norton, 1977. ISBN 0-393-09164-3.
- Shelley, Percy Bysshe and Theo Gayer-Anderson (illust.) Ozymandias. Hoopoe Books, 1999. ISBN 977-5325-82-X
- Rodenbeck, John. “Travelers from an Antique Land: Shelley's Inspiration for ‘Ozymandias,’” Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics, no. 24 (“Archeology of Literature: Tracing the Old in the New”), 2004, pp. 121–148.
- Edward Chaney, 'Egypt in England and America: The Cultural Memorials of Religion, Royalty and Revolution', in: Sites of Exchange: European Crossroads and Faultlines, eds. M. Ascari and A. Corrado (Rodopi, Amsterdam and New York,2006), 39-74.
- Burt, Mary E., ed. Poems Every Child Should Know: A Selection of the Best Poems of All Times for Young People. NY: Doubleday, Page and Company, 1904.
- ↑ Wells, John C. (1990). Longman pronunciation dictionary. Harlow, England: Longman. p. 508. ISBN 0582053838. entry "Ozymandias"
- ↑ "SparkNotes: Shelley's Poetry: "Ozymandias"". SparkNotes. http://www.sparknotes.com/poetry/shelley/section2.rhtml. Retrieved 2008-02-26.
- ↑ Luxor Temple: Head of Ramses the Great
- ↑ RPO Editors. "Percy Bysshe Shelley : Ozymandias". University of Toronto Department of English. University of Toronto Libraries, University of Toronto Press. http://rpo.library.utoronto.ca/poem/1904.html. Retrieved 2006-09-18.
- ↑ "Colossal bust of Ramesses II, the 'Younger Memnon', British Museum. Accessed 10-01-2008
- ↑ "Travelers from an antique land". ; Edward Chaney, 'Egypt in England and America: The Cultural Memorials of Religion, Royalty and Revolution', in: Sites of Exchange: European Crossroads and Faultlines, eds. M. Ascari and A. Corrado (Rodopi, Amsterdam and New York,2006), 39-74.
- ↑ Lonely Planet 2008 Guide to Egypt, 271.
- ↑ OED: mock, v. "4...†b. To simulate, make a false pretense of. Obs. [citations for 1593 and 1606; both from Shakespeare]"
- ↑ Reiman, Donald H; Powers, Sharon.B (1977). Shelley's Poetry and Prose. Norton. ISBN ISBN 0-393-09164-3.
- ↑ For an example of this misquotation, see Postel, Sandra (1999). Pillar of sand: can the irrigation miracle last?. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 0393319377. http://books.google.com/?id=QbCxGMTWWmwC. where the misquotation appears twice: at pp. xvi and 254
- ↑ Ozymandias – Smith
- ↑ The Examiner. Shelley's poem appeared on January 11 and Smith's on February 1.Treasury of English Sonnets. Ed. from the Original Sources with Notes and Illustrations, David M. Main
- ↑ Habing, B. "Ozymandias – Smith". PotW.org. http://www.potw.org/archive/potw192.html. Retrieved 2006-09-23. "The iambic pentameter contains five 'feet' in a line. This gives the poem rhythm and pulse, and sometimes is the cause of rhyme."
- Representative Poetry Online: Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822), "Ozymandias" (text of poem with notes)
- World Treasures (National Library of Australia) (autograph fair copy of the text from one of Shelley's notebooks; shows slight variants against modern editions)
- Audio / video
- Audiorecording of "Ozymandias" by the BBC.
- LibriVox recording of "Ozymandias", selection 22, read by Leonard Wilson.
- A popular Machinima adaption of the poem by Machinima pioneers Strange Company, praised as an adaptation by film critic Roger Ebert
- "Ozymandias" an example of a modern setting of this poem.
- "Ozymandias" set to music From the 1990 concept album “Tyger and Other Tales”
|This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. (view article). (view authors).|
| This page uses content from Wikinfo . The original article was at Wikinfo:Ozymandias / Shelley.|
The list of authors can be seen in the (view authors). page history. The text of this Wikinfo article is available under the GNU Free Documentation License and the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license.