About this Poem 

Percy Shelley wrote competing sonnets with his friend, Horace Smith, both called "Ozymandias." But Smith later changed his title to "On A Stupendous Leg of Granite, Discovered Standing by Itself in the Deserts of Egypt, with the Inscription Inserted Below," which begins, redundantly: "In Egypt's sandy silence, all alone, / Stands a gigantic Leg..." Shelley's poem remains the obvious winner of said competition.

Ozymandias

Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1792 - 1822
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."

This poem is in the public domain.

This poem is in the public domain.

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Percy Bysshe Shelley, whose literary career was marked with controversy due to his views on religion, atheism, socialism, and free love, is known as a talented lyrical poet and one of the major figures of English romanticism. 

by this poet

poem
         LXXIX
"Stand ye calm and resolute, 
Like a forest close and mute,
With folded arms and looks which are
Weapons of unvanquished war, 

         LXXX
"And let Panic, who outspeeds
The career of armèd steeds
Pass, a disregarded shade
Through your phalanx undismayed.

         LXXXI
"
poem
                  49

    Go thou to Rome,—at once the Paradise,
    The grave, the city, and the wilderness;
    And where its wrecks like shattered mountains rise,
    And flowering weeds, and fragrant copses dress
    The bones of Desolation's nakedness
    Pass, till the spirit of the spot shall lead
    Thy
poem
An old, mad, blind, despised, and dying king,— 
Princes, the dregs of their dull race, who flow 
Through public scorn,—mud from a muddy spring,— 
Rulers who neither see, nor feel, nor know, 
But leech-like to their fainting country cling, 
Till they drop, blind in blood, without a blow,— 
A people starved and