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Ozymandias (poetryfoundation.org)
138 points by _ttg 4 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 95 comments

When Roman generals were allowed a triumphal march after a decent enough victory, a slave would be placed in the chariot. The slave was mandated to constantly repeat in the ear of the general "You are mortal" or words to that effect. The idea was to remind the general not to get above himself.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ozymandias gives two versions of "Ozymandias" (scroll to halfway to read them.) They are both rather good and should speak loud across the centuries.

There are many simmering tensions (and quite a few outright wars) around the world. Some of those simmering tensions, that involve the really big proponents, are starting to look quite close to the boil.

Remember Ozymandias and the futility of conceit. Romans getting a slave to murmur stuff is what we might call "value signalling" these days.

We are enjoying a relatively peaceful period in human history. It would be nice if that continued. When I say enjoying, I'm obviously not referring to Syria, Yemen and other war zones or zones of continual atrocity.

> "You are mortal" or words to that effect

'Momento mori'?


> The Stoic Epictetus told his students that when kissing their child, brother, or friend, they should remind themselves that they are mortal, curbing their pleasure, as do "those who stand behind men in their triumphs and remind them that they are mortal"

See, this is why Stoicism just isn’t for me. This curbing of the positive (emotional attachment to friends and family) to make the negative less bad and more tolerable. Stoicism strikes me as a(n effective!) defense mechanism for folks with excruciatingly terrible lives, but honestly seems to take too much of the spice out of life for my tastes. I’m a very emotional person, and I’ve learned to embrace that.

The point of stoicism is not curbing of positive emotions, rather accepting negative emotions as fundamental, unavoidable part of life. From personal experience, stoicism is what worked for me. It helped me deal with anxiety.

Reminding yourself that something negative can happen might strengthen your control over your emotions.

Stoicism has never stopped me at enjoying my life, in fact it made me enjoy my life more.

I have a situation with my girlfriend, she is always worried that she might lose me. I tell her I'm not afraid of losing her and she might think it is because she loves me more. But to me losing her was always a possibility due to my stoic mindset. It is not because I don't love her or appreciate time with her. I'm just at peace with possibility of something bad happening to me.

> “I’m just at peace with the possibility of something bad happening to me.”

I think this is the key thing to understand, as well as not worrying about things which are outside of your own control. If your own personal actions did not or will not be a factor in the outcome of something, whatever that something is, then it is pointless to worry or fret about it. Be concerned and happy about what is in your control!

The ancient stoics like Aurelius definitely seemed to be talking about curbing both the positive AND the negative emotions. I was surprised by this when I listened to the words of Aurelius.

Newer stoic philosophy may be different.

> Aurelius definitely seemed to be talking about curbing both the positive AND the negative emotions

I think you're right about this. But there's nothing to say you couldn't take the useful aspects of a particular philosophy and discard the rest. For example, Cato the Younger adopted the fortitude of stoic principles to filibuster the senate, though I believe he didn't behave in the manner of the stoics during his lifetime.

But, as you say, Aurelius was particularly proud of his ability to forgo pleasure, especially when it was readily available to him. I don't think this is at-all necessary to forgo pleasure in order to reduce one's own suffering. That a buddhist monk can sit still while being set alight seems to be strong evidence that pain can be assuaged by mind training alone.

Edit: I looked up self-immolation, and it turns out 'self-mummification' is a thing too.


To remind yourself of your mortality when being embraced by a loved one serves to amplify the love and gratitude you experience, not to diminish it so that you’re less likely to be bummed when something bad happens. I'm afraid you have misunderstood Stoicism.

> they should remind themselves that they are mortal, curbing their pleasure

I dunno, your “amplify love” interpretation seems diametrically opposed to the “curb pleasure” writing of the stoic philosophers

The idea is that if you accept the fact that your loved ones may disappear at any time, you’ll appreciate them and love them more in the present. And when they do disappear, feeling that sadness is part of being human. The important thing is to accept that they’re gone, and not wallow in despair, as it’s something you can’t change.

Their idea of pleasure might've been drastically different from what is being proposed here.

> This curbing of the positive (emotional attachment to friends and family) to make the negative less bad and more tolerable.

I don't know enough about stoicism to defend it fully here, but it is similar to Buddhism in it's prescription of asceticism and tempering of emotions. So taking the Buddhist angle to 'attachments', the idea is not that you do not enjoy the pleasure of others, but you don't burden yourself with the attachment itself. That is, spend time with your loved ones and enjoy their company, but if they leave you tomorrow, avail yourself of your attachment to their presence, so that you can better live in their absence.

I think with stoicism, also, it's not about living a joyless existence, in order to dampen the painful moments, but to steel yourself to the reality that all things are impermanent. Keep in mind that many stoics, including Epictetus, Aurelius, and later, Seneca, lived in a bloody times. In particular, Nero ordered Seneca to kill himself, and by most accounts, he did so dispassionately. It's perhaps the character of these times that suicide is thought about differently between stoicism and Buddhism.

I think the idea is not to give up on your emotions and be an inanimate machine-like creature, but indeed to embrace your emotions, to be in a deeper cohesion with them.

"The power of attachment should be as strong as the power of detachment", which is of course a much harder task than just detaching from everything.

The ancient stoics definitely seem to be talking about tempering the positive as well as the negative emotions. I listened to Aurelius, and it seemed pretty clear that this is what he was referring to.

Memento, not momento.

Correct. I'd edit it if I could :)

Memes not moments!

" Romans getting a slave to murmur stuff is what we might call "value signalling" these days."

? Virtue Signalling is when people brag, or indirectly brag, or overtly indicate their support for some cause, so as to highlight their virtue. It's used in a derogatory sense when people do it in a vapid manner, i.e. write things on Instagram, but otherwise their actions are shallow.

That said, that literally a slave was there to remind a General to not believe his own hype is just an incredible degree of self-awareness and social understanding of human nature by the Romans - and an amazing ability to act on it.

Could you imagine something along the lines of that these days for celebs, CEOs or in the White House?

My gosh.

Kinda reminds me of the time I "bonked" on a bike ride. I realized that I was hypoglycemic, concluded that I wasn't thinking straight... so I started saying to myself "if you do something stupid, pull over"... that turned into a bit of a chant... 5 miles later I realize that chanting to myself is a stupid way to handle the issue... 5 miles later, I actually pulled over, and ate every calorie in my pack. Saying it feels good, doing it is real good.

This is paraphrased by the great George C. Scott at the end of Patton. His version was "All victory is fleeting."

All glory is fleeting.[0]

0: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPiH-LBna5I

Ah, yes. I have seen this movie over a dozen times, with my first viewing at about age 4. George C Scott's performance is more sublime than the command presence of the real Patton.

Super eerie as I’m halfway through a rewatch tonight. And to think, Oscar winner Rod Steiger turned down the role for which George Scott would win his own Oscar.

Many who knew Patton personally said much the same thing.

The Ozymandias referred to in this poem is the Greek name of Rameses II.

He was arguably the most powerful and successful Pharaoh in all of Egyptian history. He became Pharaoh as a teenager, led an invasion of the Levant against the Hittites, and almost single handedly through great personal bravery turned what would have been a crushing defeat into a stalemate at the Battle of Kadesh. He also extended the Egyptian power south into Sudan. Egypt probably reached the pinnacle of her wealth and power under him. He is thought to have lived into his 90's and reigned 66 years. He fathered roughly 100 children (~50 sons and ~50 daughters). His whole life, he was treated as god on earth.

The reason I bring this up is that the person Shelley is referring to is not some obscure person. In our wildest dreams, none of us could ever hope to reach the level of significance of Rameses II. In terms of reaching the pinnacle of success, Rameses did it: famous, powerful, rich, huge family, beloved by everyone around him, long life, etc.

Yet he died. His accomplishments decayed. His kingdom eventually fell. His statues fell over and went into decay (though some are around and his temple at Abu Simbel is still amazing).

Remember, all our greatest accomplishments and any fame we could hope to accomplish are all ultimately fleeting. In our quest for significance, we should not forget to enjoy the moments we have now.

Yet we do still remembering him, thousands of years later! Immortality in a sense.

This what my takeaway from watching Baraka again recently:


While the film doesn't focus on any particular person, it covers society at large. It portrays the build-up of a modern, global society and eventually shows shots of ancient Egypt ruins. We are no different. One too all of this will be gone.

Baraka is a really good film. Samsara, made later, is also good, but not quite at the level of its predecessor. Both available on Amazon.

Did the accomplishments decay or are they part of the fabric of reality?

Is the 2nd law really the only truth?

Could it be locally false for long enough to not matter?

I get it, but isn’t it obvious that his actions and accomplishments changed the world, and those changes still persist today? Bodies and statues are fleeting, but borders and cultures were changed by this person.

> Remember, all our greatest accomplishments and any fame we could hope to accomplish are all ultimately fleeting.

What's the point of thinking this way? At the end of the day the Sun will destroy the Earth and nobody will ever remember anyone because there will no trace of us all. If you keep looking at things this way, this is rather depressing.

If all our ancestors thought that "let's forget about investing in building something better because ultimately it does not matter", we would not even be having computers to write on by now.

I recently reread Ted Chiang's Exhalation, which explores a similar question on existence from a very alien perspective. For some reason, this rereading, the bit at the end hit me a lot harder than when I read it before.

I hope that your expedition was more than a search for other universes to use as reservoirs.


> At the end of the day the Sun will destroy the Earth

Maybe not. Our descendants might just move the Earth, or fix the sun to prevent it becoming a red giant. We've got billion of years to work it out.

“On the Vanity of Earthly Greatness” (1930) by Arthur Guiterman:

The tusks which clashed in mighty brawls

Of mastodons, are billiard balls.

The sword of Charlemagne the Just

Is Ferric Oxide, known as rust.

The grizzly bear, whose potent hug,

Was feared by all, is now a rug.

Great Caesar's bust is on the shelf,

And I don't feel so well myself.

Thank you so much, I've memorized a few poems (Ozymandias being the first one) and this one will surely be added to that list. I really like this kind of theme, if you know more please share.

Along these lines:

Even This Shall Pass Away by Theodore Tilton

Once in Persia reigned a king, Who upon his signet ring Graved a maxim true and wise, Which, if held before his eyes, Gave him counsel at a glance Fit for every change and chance. Solemn words, and these are they; “Even this shall pass away.”

Trains of camels through the sand Brought him gems from Samarcand; Fleets of galleys through the seas Brought him pearls to match with these; But he counted not his gain Treasures of the mine or main; “What is wealth?” the king would say; “Even this shall pass away.”

‘Mid the revels of his court, At the zenith of his sport, When the palms of all his guests Burned with clapping at his jests, He, amid his figs and wine, Cried, “O loving friends of mine; Pleasures come, but do not stay; ‘Even this shall pass away.’”

Lady, fairest ever seen, Was the bride he crowned the queen. Pillowed on his marriage bed, Softly to his soul he said: “Though no bridegroom ever pressed Fairer bossom to his breast, Mortal flesh must come to clay – Even this shall pass away.”

Fighting on a furious field, Once a javelin pierced his shield; Soldiers, with a loud lament, Bore him bleeding to his tent. Groaning from his tortured side, “Pain is hard to bear,” he cried; “But with patience, day by day, Even this shall pass away.”

Towering in the public square, Twenty cubits in the air, Rose his statue, carved in stone. Then the king, disguised, unknown, Stood before his sculptured name, Musing meekly: “What is fame? Fame is but a slow decay; Even this shall pass away.”

Struck with palsy, sore and old, Waiting at the Gates of Gold, Said he with his dying breath, “Life is done, but what is Death?” Then, in answer to the king, Fell a sunbeam on his ring, Showing by a heavenly ray, “Even this shall pass away.”

–Theodore Tilton


The ivory gods, And the ebony gods, And the gods of diamond and jade, Sit silently on their temple shelves While the people Are afraid. Yet the ivory gods, And the ebony gods, And the gods of diamond-jade, Are only silly puppet gods That the people themselves Have made.

There are a couple more poems I know and love on a similar theme, but they're probably not of interest to this audience as they're in Sanskrit :-) (“सा रम्या नगरी…” by Bhartṛhari, “ मान्धाता स महीपतिः…” by Bhoja, and “…शान्त्यै मनो दीयताम्” by Kṣemendra)

Not another poem on that theme, but something cool I remembered related to Ozymandias: Gilbert Adair, somewhere in his amazing translation (A Void) of Georges Perec's work La Disparition — written entirely without a single instance of the letter 'e' — has this rewrite of Ozymandias that maintains the lipogram constraint (and rhyme):


I know a pilgrim from a distant land

Who said: Two vast and sawn-off limbs of quartz

Stand on an arid plain. Not far, in sand

Half sunk, I found a facial stump, drawn warts

And all; its curling lips of cold command

Show that its sculptor passions could portray

Which still outlast, stamp’d on unliving things,

A mocking hand that no constraint would sway:

And on its plinth this lordly boast is shown:

“Lo, I am Ozymandias, king of kings:

Look on my works, O Mighty, and bow down!”

‘Tis all that is intact. Around that crust

Of a colossal ruin, now windblown,

A sandstorm swirls and grinds it into dust.


He does similar things in some places in the book with other works, such as Poe's The Raven: http://whatwouldpuskasdo.blogspot.com/2004/07/dropping-e.htm...

And on the original theme, see also https://abstrusegoose.com/89

> stamp’d

So close

“stamp'd” doesn't contain an 'e', and such forms are accepted especially in verse, and this is one of the tricks that Adair uses (sparingly) in his translation. (Used less than other tricks: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1557971160)

I was reading a bit about Voyager 1 a few days ago and the possibility that in hundreds of millions or billions of years it, and I suppose probes like it, might be all that remain of humanity and all our works.

It’s a sobering thought. We are incredibly lucky enough to live at a crucial inflection point in the story of our species. I suspect we may not be far from achieving close to the limits of what is technologically possible, within the next few centuries. What will our statues be, and how shall we write our civilisation’s epitaph?

> how shall we write our civilisation’s epitaph?

Probably on a rad-hard zettabyte USB drive buried in a giant black slab, with a backup on the moon.

Needs backup farther out. Earth and moon are due for vaporization via red giant in ~5 billion years.

USB hard drives will be indecipherable approximately 5Billion years earlier.

Maybe that's all that's left of us in thousands or even just hundreds of years.

We have the tools to destroy civilization in a matter of days.

Can you describe that? I’m not sure what you’re referring to. Bombs I assume, detonated where?

I've forgotten what the method was but it is within the realm of possibility today for a single wealthy individual to destroy the world at their whim.

IIRC it didn't require any fancy future tech or bombs. It just required the will with current tech. Like sending up 10000 balloons full of a certain kind of existing chemical into the upper atmosphere.

IIRC the article was about governments deciding they need to take planet wide effecting geo hacking steps for global warming but what if they're wrong. Following some of those steps it was clear that a modestly rich individual could implement some of them on their own.

I can't remember which website or podcast I heard this from. It could have been 80000 Hours or Making Sense or Slate Star Codex

Maybe this:


Don't know how to make the shortened archive.is urls.

"Dr Wagner suggests that the most efficient way to deliver it would be for geoengineering aircraft to be loaded with solid sulphur, which they would burn at altitude in their engines to produce SO2. All this would cost around $3.5bn a year (at today’s prices) to deploy."

Granted, this is about altering global temperature a few degrees, not destroying the world. Also, it would take some time, and they would have to contend with the powers that be. Maybe there's another way though...

19 kb @ USD 0,10 / bp ~= USD 2'000. Luckily it appears full synthesis is still impractical above 1 kb ... in a single step.

Well, a full nuclear exchange between the U.S. and Russia would end civilization as we know it. Though it is unlikely to wipe out the human race entirely, we'd be reduced to paleolithic population levels and it's really hard to predict how things would develop from there. A nuclear exchange between the U.S. and China, or between India and Pakistan on the other hand would cause a decades-long crisis, but wouldn't outright destroy civilization in the way a U.S.-Russia exchange (with 10x-100x more nukes) would.

I would personally be more worried about another global pandemic and/or biowarfare/bioterrorism. An infection with the virility of SARS-CoV-2 but the case fatality rate of Ebola or MERS would end civilization. What'll keep you up at night is realizing that this is almost at the point where a biology grad student could engineer such a thing in their dorm room.

It should be noted that people who think about these things are also worried about AI existential risk. Personally I think that while there is reason to have some concern, it doesn't hold a candle to the above two risks.

Agreed. AI-existential risk is still science fiction. The other two are much more achievable.

If we can't get AI to reliably drive a car, it wont be taking over the world any time soon.

With luck we'll develop the AI before the virus. At least then something intelligent will remain after we destroy ourselves.

I love this comic strip illustration of the poem: https://www.zenpencils.com/comic/ozymandias/

Also, looking at an aging Ozymandias, played by Jeremy Irons, in the new Watchmen show made me think of the poem again.

They left out the other version, Horace Smith's "Ozymandias":


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,—

Naught 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.

As I recall, he and Shelly both composed these in a personal competition, which Smith immediately conceded on seeing the other version.

I'm a fan of this version. It's got more scifi.

This is my favourite poem and was before I even knew how layered and knotty it is. In addition to its obvious interpretation it's also about readers and reading, how even if you are the mightiest ruler who has ever lived you still can't make people read you a certain way - the sculptor who "mocked" his features may have found the king's intentions absurd even as he was forced to sculpt his likeness.

It was an illustration by Shelley of the problems of a certain school of literary thought at the time which held that the author of a text is the ultimate arbiter of its meaning. That Shelley was able to make such an elegant counter-argument and encode it as one of the most lyrically and thematically beautiful poems of all time puts me in awe every time I think of it.

That's... really anachronistic.

The Death of the Author came about in 1967, even New Criticism, which foreshadowed Death, came about only at the earliest the 1930s-40s, after IA Richards published his Practical Criticism.

Shelley wrote in the Romantic period, when the artist's personal "genius" was paramount as a conduit to the "sublime". Saying that he somehow whipped up a criticism of "author as the arbiter of meaning" in what is practically a product of a friendly poetry contest is plainly absurd.

Strangely you also attributed this anachronistic reading to Shelley, making it somehow the author's intent to be counter-author-intent. Just... why?

Ah I see, thanks for setting me straight. I must have conflated someone's later reading of the poem with the author's original intent.

I wonder (with my limited knowledge on the exact nature of the language) why we still print 'ye' if the 'y' was a shorthand for 'th' and therefore it actually is pronounced 'the'. If we modify or modernise the other words in the poem, why keep 'the' spelled using 'ye'? As far as I can tell it only causes people the speak (or mentally read) the equivalent of 'yee'.

You're confusing two different things. Ye as a plural pronoun is a bone fide archaic English word, ultimately sharing an etymology with the still-extant "you". "Ye" as an article ("Ye olde...") has the history you reference, where the y comes from a stand-in for a thorn (th), and so was not supposed to be pronounced as "yee". But ye as a pronoun (by far the most common usage, I think, and the usage in the poem) is just a normal word and doesn't share that history.

Ah yes, the thorn was the one I was looking for. I remember reading something about that when looking up the reason old pub signs in England sometimes had the thorn and often 'ye' but are always actually supposed to be 'the' in technically correct form.

> wonder (with my limited knowledge on the exact nature of the language) why we still print 'ye' if the 'y' was a shorthand for 'th'

Where it is pronounced “the”, it wasn't really a shorthand for “th” it was a rendering of “þe”, because the cursive “þ” came to look like “y”. Because we don't use “

But, actually, in Ozymandias it's not that form, it's the pronoun, which was actually pronounced “ye” and spelled “ye”, an alternative form of “you”, not the article pronounced “the” and spelled “þe”. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ye_(pronoun)

Coming from germanic languages where a lot of pronouns are available but only a very small subset is used today, the ye/thou pronoun context makes more sense now with that explanation.

In this instance, “ye” is the plural form of “thou.”

And (if I read the other responses correctly) thou is similar to 'you' in pronoun terms, right?

Because even though the 'y' was originally a substitute for the thorn rune, it then passed into common language with the 'yee' pronunciation. Given that this poem was written in the 1800s, I would guess it's meant to be pronounced with the 'y' sound and not a 'th' sound.

>[1]The name "Ozymandias" is a rendering in Greek of a part of Ramesses II's throne name, User-maat-re Setep-en-re. The poems paraphrase the inscription on the base of the statue, given by Diodorus Siculus in his Bibliotheca historica as:

>>King of Kings am I, Osymandyas. If anyone would know how great I am and where I lie, let him surpass one of my works.


Have we checked the quote? There seems to be just the upper half in the museum but the other half should be lying somewhere.

This poem often reminds me of geological timescale, which occurs over millions of years or more. For example, the Carnian Pluvial Event was a relatively humid rainy era that lasted for millions of years, beyond most of our comprehension in practical terms (https://laughingsquid.com/why-it-rained-for-two-million-year...), even though it's a relatively discrete period of time in the grand scheme of Earth. Even the Permian extinction, the largest extinction event in the history of known life, unfolded for over 60000 years. That is a flicker on geological timescales, but supercedes by a wide margin the period of recorded human history.

The trailer for the final season of Breaking Bad had Walter White (Bryan Cranston) reciting one of the versions to great effect and quite well sums up the big series storyline:


I was hoping someone would mention Breaking Bad. The third-to-last episode of the last season is called "Ozymandias" and it's probably the second-greatest episode of television ever filmed. The greatest is the very last episode "Felina."

You have to watch the whole series linearly though; if you skip to those episodes they won't mean anything.

The URL ^^ didn't work for me .

This one -> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMySF1nkN8o worked for me in Australia

That’s unfortunate, region locking?

The trailer was basically sequences from the desert (which is also where the series starts. Very, very well done show) while he talks.

I almost wonder if Gilligan started off with that poem and constructed a loose version of the story which grew into the layered thing that it is.

I remember wanting to be very disinterested in it due to the meth subject matter, but geez, the sub plots, the symbolism, all of it was just exceptionally well done.

exurb1a's variation, from his amazing video[1] "We're the Last Humans Left":

  My name is Homo sapiens, hominid of hominids;
  Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SvbTFwXagdQ

I hadn’t heard of this video before, you’re right, it is amazing. It’s interesting, a little dark, yet some how comforting in a way I’m not sure I can articulate. If Voyager has a follow up, this is a message that should be on it. Thank you so much for sharing.

In the same spirit, Ulysses By Tennyson


We studied this poem in high school after having studied the Odyssey (where Ulysses gets home) and the Divine Comedy (where Ulysses tells the story after he travels past Hercules' columns).

So this poem filled the middle (staying in Ithaca until leaving) missing part!

In addition to being a fantastic poem in itself, it felt great to see how a whole story could develop through different authors over so many centuries.

And its mate by Horace Smith. http://www.potw.org/archive/potw192.html

”For agony and spoil Of nations beat to dust, For poisoned air and tortured soil And cold, commanded lust,

And every secret woe The shuddering waters saw— Willed and fulfilled by highh and low— Let them relearn the Law”

Exerpt from Justice, RUDYARD KIPLING 1918


Something I appreciate about country music is how it sometimes utilises a chorus that may remain syntactically invariant throughout a song, but hearing the intervening verses changes the semantics.

e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vn6QdqxK3g

Another great example is “why don’t you stay”. It’s always fun to figure out if there could be a different reading. I often wonder about what has potentially been lost in translation.

Edit: it is Sugarland “Stay”

I don't mean to be rude, but I want to make sure I understand the relevance of this. Are you referring to the way the inscription on Ozymandias's statue, while remaining the same, has changed its perceived meaning over time?


(Thanks for asking! It's difficult to sustain a conversation here, but I intermittently check comments up to a few days back in case they're in need of expansion.)

You might appreciate http://hnreplies.com/, which emails you whenever someone replies to one of your comments.

"I'm not a comic book villain." ~ Ozymandias

Unlike the movies, The Watchmen graphic novel takes the time to point out Veidt's homage

My favorite poem to pair this with is The New Colossus by Lazarus. I have to imagine Lazarus was calling back not just to the ancient Colossus of Rhodes, but also the lyrical colossus that is Ozymandias, towering over the sonnet form.

Oh, and I don't want to spoil the ending for those who may not know, but it has some significance besides its poetic beauty.


  my nam is King
  of ancient land
  and haf my face
  is under sand
  and on a stone
  it can be read
  “the World is mine”
  but now I’m ded

I've always liked the sense of perspective conveyed in this poem. I was introduced to it through the truly excellent https://ozyandmillie.org/comic/ozy-and-millie-2/.

EDIT: spelling

Customary, a reading by Bryan Cranston https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3dpghfRBHE

>The uploader has not made this video available in your country.

This seems to go a little bit against the idea of the internet.

Seems geo restricted. I had better luck with https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMySF1nkN8o in Oz

Imo this version really conveys the atmosphere with the animations: https://youtu.be/sPlSH6n37ts

This makes a great appearance in one of the short stories in the movie the Ballad of Buster Scruggs. A brilliant Coen brothers movie on Netflix.

Harry Melling forever sealed the way that I read it.


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