The Poet Shelley visiting New York is reminded of another traveller he once met

Ozymandias, Percy Bysshe Shelley, English, 1792-1822

 

I met a traveller from an antique land

 

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Who said:  ” Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
“Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,

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“Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,

 

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“And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,

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“Tell that its sculptor well those passions read

“Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,

 

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 “The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.

 

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“And on the pedestal these words appear —

 

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” ‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’

 

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“Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

 

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“Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare

 

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“The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

 

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Egyptian temple built of sandstone by the Roman governor of Egypt in 15 BCE on commission of the Emperor Augustus.  It was dedicated to Isis and Osiris and two deified sons of a Nubian chief.

Given to the United States for work done to save several sites in the wake of the building of the Aswan dam, it has been in the Metropolitan Museum since the late 1970s.

To the right and left as one approaches the temple are statues of Amenhotep III, c. 1390 BCE.  Originally in Thebes.

Within the temple, a statue of the priestess Tagerem dating from c. 300BCE.  She displays the female form deemed perfect in her time: demure and alluring.

The sphinx  dates to 1460 BCE and is one of several smashed to smithereens on purpose by a ruler of Egypt.  These sphinxes had formally lorded it near a temple dedicated to Hatshepsut.  Its reconstruction is marvelous.

No information about the provenance of the crocodile.

Metropolitan Museum, New York

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