PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY(1792-1822
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:
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.
There’s a golden thread (to paraphrase Horace Rumpole) that permeates the warp of human history, including Aristophanes, Robert Burton, Miguel Cervantes, Moliere, Samuel Butler, Oscar Wilde, Charles Dodgson, Edward Lear, Bennet Cerf, Ogden Nash, and Dave Barry, to mention but a few… This thread represents perhaps the ultimate attainment of intellectual silliness; and at the same time, arguably, of course, the height of wisdom…
OGDEN NASH (1902-1971)
I met a traveler from an antique show,
His pockets empty, but his eyes aglow.
Upon his back, and now his very own,
He bore two vast and trunkless legs of stone.
Amid the torrent of collector’s jargon
I gathered he had found himself a bargain,
A permanent conversation piece post-prandial,
Certified genuine early Ozymandial
And when i asked him how he could be sure,
He showed me P. B. Shelley’s signature.
SO, WHICH VERSION DO YOU LIKE BETTER??
13 thoughts on “OZYMANDIAS/OGDENIASIS”
Both poems are excellent, Mudpuddle. I just love Nash’s wit – I really do! And the original is atmospheric – at least to me.
i like them both, also, Margot… i’d just read the Nash last nite and had to do something with it…
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I like Shelly’s the best but Nash is so very clever.
I love Rumpole’s idea about the thread tying intellectual silliness down the ages together.
Horace and “She Who Must Be Obeyed” have become icons in certain circles… Horace was talking about the Magna Carta, tho, i think… i stole it(blush)
I can’t go past Ogden. That guy was witty. Don’t see a lot of ‘witty’ these days.
i first read one of his poems when i was about 12, i think, and he’s been a resource ever since… Shelley, not so much…
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My father had a Nash, the car in which I learned to drive, and I dated a girl named Shelley with whom I learned to park in the Nash, so I have a conflict of interest here. Sorry, Mudpuddle.
hahaaha…! you’re so funny, sometimes, Tim!! tx for that…
I must say that both are good, naturally. But Nash is really funny. Although I’m not sure I’d appreciate the humor if I had not read the first poem. 🙂
i grew up reading Nash, off and on, anyway… he’s been a favorite for a long time…
I like Shelley’s better …….. there is something so majestic yet so tragic about it. I’m not sure if I appreciate Nash’s tongue-in-cheek playing with the original.
I did have my daughter memorize a couple of Nash’s poems and had always enjoyed his romping style.
tx, Cleo… i see your point; i hadn’t thought about it that way…