You are here

Percy Bysshe Shelley - Draft of 'Ozymandias'

Please help us improve with this one minute survey (opens in a new tab)

Part of the Shelley's Ghost Exhibition. 'Ozymandias' is the Greek name for Ramses II, who ruled Egypt for sixty-seven years from 1279 to 1213 BC.

Ramses II was a military conqueror and a great builder, but Shelley's sonnet describes how the achievements of even the mightiest tyrants are obliterated by time. Only the Pharaoh's arrogant passions, as expressed in the ruined statue, have survived, outliving both the sculptor ('The hand that mocked them') and Ramses himself ('the heart that fed'). His many monuments have reverted to 'The lone and level sands'.