38. What poem, commonly considered the best known work of a leading English Romantic poet, was inspired by a pharaoh?
Answer to Egypt Quiz #38
Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley.
Shelley composed the poem in 1817 as part of a sonnet-writing competition with friend Horace Smith. They are said to have been captivated by news of the British acquisition of a colossus of the powerful Nineteenth Dynasty Pharaoh, Ramesses II, whom the Greeks called Ozymandias.
I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said–“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desart….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.”