Ozymandias (Smith)

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For works with similar titles, see Ozymandias.
by Horace Smith

Shelley apparently wrote this sonnet in competition with his friend Horace Smith, as Smith published a sonnet a month after Shelley's, in the same magazine, which takes the same subject, tells the same story, and makes the same moral point. It was originally published under the same title as Shelley's verse; in later collections, however, Smith retitled it "On A Stupendous Leg of Granite, Discovered Standing by Itself in the Deserts of Egypt, with the Inscription Inserted Below".

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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,—
     Nought 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.

This work was published before January 1, 1926, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.