Still Life :Studio
The sonnet Ozymandias celebrates the anonymous sculptor and his artistic achievement, whilst Shelley imaginatively surveys the ruins of a bygone power to fashion a sinuous, compact sonnet spun from a traveller’s tale of far distant desert ruins. The lone and level sands stretching to the horizon perhaps suggest a resultant barrenness from a misuse of power where “nothing beside remains”.
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 shatter’d visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp’d on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock’d 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.
Suggested further reading:
Some notes of Aesthetics:
Ozymandias by Percy Byshe Shelley http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ozymandias