"Ozymandias" (pronounced /ˌɒziˈmændi.əs/) is a sonnet by Percy Bysshe Shelley, published in 1818 (see 1818 in poetry). It is frequently anthologised and 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.

In addition to the power of its themes and imagery, the poem is notable for its virtuosic diction. The rhyme scheme of the sonnet is unusual and creates a sinuous and interwoven effect.

Read by Ben Kingsley
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Percy Bysshe Shelley quotes

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 lips, 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.

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