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On a Stupendous Leg of Granite

Horace Smith

                     In Egypt's sandy silence, all alone,

                      Stands a gigantic Leg, which far off throws
                     The only shadow that the Desert knows:
                     "I am great OZYMANDIAS," saith the stone,
                     "The King of Kings; this mighty City shows
                     "The wonders of my hand." - The City's gone, -
                     Nought but the Leg remaining to disclose
                     The site of this forgotten Babylon.
                     We wonder, - and some Hunter may express
                     Wonder like ours, when thro' the wilderness
                     Where London stood, holding the Wolf in chace,
                     He meets some fragments huge, and stops to guess
                     What powerful but unrecorded race
                     Once dwelt in that annihilated place.

This poem was the 'other' product of the sonnet-writing competitition between Horace Smith and Percy Bysshe Shelley in December, 1817. You don't need to be an expert to realise why Ozymandias is regarded as a great poem and this one only survives because of its curiosity value.

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