Thursday, March 4, 2010

Ozymandias - A classic sonnet

Egypt: ThebesImage by Brooklyn Museum via Flickr

(For some reason my auto-posting didn't work and so yesterday (3/3/10) nothing was posted on my new blog promising something posted every day (alas!). So, today I'm posting two sonnets to make up for it. ) 

The previous sonnet, "Rosetta," was in part inspired by this classic one from Percy Bysshe Shelley, "Ozymandias." I remember once when I was in high school, working a summer job with a lot of misfits scraping weeds from school parking lots. One of the men paused from his work, leaned on his hoe, and then recited Ozymandias in mournful tones somehow very appropriate both to the poem and that moment. I've learned not to underestimate either those who labor with their hands or with their iambic pentameter:

by Percy Bysshe Shelley

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."
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

No comments:

Post a Comment