August 4 is the birthday in 1792 of Percy Bysshe Shelley, one of the major English Romantic poets, regarded by some as among the finest lyric and philosophical poets in the English language. Shelley did not see fame during his lifetime, but recognition of his achievements in poetry grew steadily following his death.
“Ozymandias,” one of Shelley’s most famous works, was published in 1818.
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”.