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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
It lieth, gazing on the midnight sky, 
  Upon the cloudy mountain peak supine;  
Below, far lands are seen tremblingly; 
  Its horror and its beauty are divine. 
Upon its lips and eyelids seems to lie 
  Loveliness like a shadow, from which shrine,  
Fiery and lurid, struggling underneath,  
The agonies of
poem
We are as clouds that veil the midnight moon;
  How restlessly they speed, and gleam, and quiver,
Streaking the darkness radiantly!—yet soon
  Night closes round, and they are lost for ever:

Or like forgotten lyres, whose dissonant strings
  Give various response to each varying blast,
To whose frail frame no
poem
 
The fountains mingle with the river   
And the rivers with the ocean,   
The winds of heaven mix for ever   
With a sweet emotion;   
Nothing in the world is single, 
All things by a law divine   
In one another's being mingle—   
Why not I with thine?   
   
See the mountains kiss high heaven,   
And the