Write a well-focused, clearly contextualized, fully developed, logically organized and carefully edited essay in which you discuss the two “Ozymandias” poems — their features, meanings, and apparent relationship to each other. Approach the essay with the “Comparing and Contrasting” and “Writing About Poetry” guidelines in mind, and remember that your audience is an uninformed reader who is not already familiar with the texts, the topic, or the assignment prompt.
PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY
I met a traveler 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.
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.
On a Stupendous Leg of Granite, Discovered Standing by Itself in the Deserts of Egypt, with the Inscriiption Inserted Below
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 sight of that forgotten Babylon.
We wonder, and some hunter may express
Wonder like ours, when through the wilderness
Where London stood, holding the wolf in chase,
He meets some fragment huge, and stops to guess
What wonderful, but unrecorded, race
Once dwelt in that annihilated place.