This poem has been written by P. B. Shelley who is regarded as one of the finest writer of Romantic Movement. He loves to write on nature and there is a perfect blend of plot and setting in almost all of his writings. He was a straight forward person who wrote mainly on religion, social and ethical issues. Several of his works went unnoticed during his life time. The narrator was conceded only after his death, and he is reminded for his masterpiece work in English Literature. In this poem the speaker is unfolding to us what the commuter is telling. The traveller originates from an ancient place. This is a sardonic poem being indited by this versatile author. This poem is being named after a famous king “Ramesses II” who had ruled Egypt for several years. Here the name of the king is Ozymandias because ancient Greeks used to call this great king as Ozymandias. The author is reciting this poem in a serious way and the first few lines are as follows:-
“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…”
Through these lines the speaker is telling us about the fate of mortal men. The traveller originates from an ancient place which is antique. It is a desert area which hints that the traveller is narrating us about a statue standing in Egypt. Here he saw an enormous statue in the midway of a desert area. He saw an effigy whose upper part of the body was missing .He was standing on his two legs which were made up of stone. His Visage or face was lying adjoining to the gigantic statue. It reveals provoking smile and a disheartening look. It was fragile and had pale expressions which could be marked significantly through his face. His lips were furrowed and his lip was slightly opened as if he was trying to speak something. The image revealed that the Egyptian ruler was cruel or a tyrant. It is often said that looks are deceptive but in the pages of history it is revealed that this king was a tyrant who used forceful commands to govern his empire. His expressions were very furious and had a boastful look. The artist who has made this sculpture was a genius because he has recorded minute details of the king in his art. The next few lines are as follows:-
“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.”
The lines written near the foot of the sculpture reveals that the Egyptian king introduced himself as the “Ozymandias’. This line also reveals the nature of the king. He was arrogant enough to call himself as the ‘king of the kings’. These lines further reveal that he was the most influential king of all rulers. He commanded all kings to look at his statue and look upon his work which was simply incomparable. He tried to show his supremacy and had discredited the work of the other rulers. He had built this sculpture in order to convey the message to the rulers and readers worldwide that he was an incredible king. This poem is one of the famous works of the Poet. The humbleness of the traveller who made a satire of the so-called “great” Emperor is remembered in this poem. He is humble because he is narrating the fact which he is watching in the desert. The analysis and criticism of his explanation is left to readers who can understand the message of the poet. In this poem the character and the qualities of the renowned emperor is being carved out through the stone image which has been presented in a marvellous way. The image is being personified in this poem as if the image is trying to convey a genuine message to the entire world. The theme of this poem is being presented in a lucid way through an object. This poem states that nothing is permanent in this entire universe. This poem highlights the fact that everything in this world is a subject to decay and not even a stone would remain forever. Human beings are like this statue which is gigantic but it is losing its existence. The author further states that nothing is immortal except time.
This Poem is a Sonnet and it presents a beautiful philosophy that everything which is visible on this earth is subject to decay. Even kings are not spared by the pangs of death. Every man or woman who is born has to die. Nothing is left in the empire of Ozymandias. Everything is wrecked because everything is a subject to decay. The last line is the truth ‘The lone and level sands stretch far away’.