Ozymandias: “Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair”!

What are the chances Percy Shelley’s poem and its associated namesake,  “Ozymandias”,  has come into my vernacular twice in one week?


“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 shatter’d visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp’d on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock’d 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.”

Is this the new word of the day? Ozymandias, a anti-hero’s name  in the disgustingly over-wrought film “The Watchman” and now in an article discussing the long term implications for the city of Dubai  in the Economist.

Colossal Bust of Ramesses II

Ozymandias was “was another name for Ramesses the Great, Pharaoh of the 19th dynasty of ancient Egypt” (Wikipedia). Ramesses, who the Greeks adored, was one of the longest living Pharaohs, waged war in Syria and whose love for his first queen Nefertari was well documented.

Ozymandias, in the film, The Watchman, played by Matthew Goode, is one part protagonist, one part nihilist, as he attempts to destroy earth’s major cities via Dr. Manhattan, to save man-kind from complete annihilation via nuclear war.

The Watchman

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