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Ozymandias and Seostris
Posted by: J.H.SUMMERS (
Date: February 09, 2004 08:00PM

I ran across the following by Lloyd Mifflin (1846-1921) and it reminded me of Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822). There are many similarities between the two poems. Is Mifflin telling the same story in his own way or did he use Ozymandias as a basis of his own poem?

Seostris (also titled as Sesostris)
by Lloyd Mifflin

Sole Lord of Lords and very King of Kings,
He sits within the desert, carved in stone;
Inscrutable, colossal, and alone,
And ancienter than memory of things.
Graved on his front the sacred beetle clings;
Disdain sits on his lips; and in a frown
Scorn lives upon his forehead for a crown.
The affrighted ostrich dares not dust her wings
Anear this Presence. The long caravan's
Dazed camels pause, and mute the Bedouins stare.
This symbol of past power more than man's
Presages doom. Kings look--and Kings despair:
The sceptres tremble in their jeweled hands
And dark thrones totter in the baleful air!

by Percy Bysshe Shelley

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.'

Re: Ozymandias and Seostris
Posted by: Pam Adams (
Date: February 09, 2004 09:36PM

I think- different take on the same general subject matter- the discoveries of Egyptian archaelogy. Here's a link to Seostris II.

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This one seems to really be about the same statue-

On a Stupendous Leg of Granite, Discovered Standing by Itself in the Deserts of Egypt, with the Inscription Inserted Below.
Horace Smith*

[composed December 27, 1817 during a sonnet-writing competition with Percy Bysshe Shelley (who wrote "Ozymandias" as a result); published 1818]

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!
Naught but the leg remaining to disclose
The sight of that forgotten Babylon.
We wonder, and some hunter may express
Wonder like ours, when through the wilderness
Where London stood, holding the wolf in chase,
He meets some fragment huge, and stops to guess
What wonderful, but unrecorded, race
Once dwelt in that annihilated place.

Great title, no?

[] />

Re: Ozymandias and Seostris
Posted by: Hugh Clary (
Date: February 10, 2004 10:56AM

Hmmm, interesting - Smith's seems to me the more technically correct use of the sonnet form & rhymes, but Shelley's the more interesting to read, even with the flaws. Mifflin's certainly appears to be a development of the same theme. I wonder if there are any more examples to be found.

Re: Ozymandias and Seostris
Posted by: J.H.SUMMERS (
Date: February 10, 2004 08:19PM


Thanks Pam for the info and for the links. Yes, that is quite some title, nearly as long as the sonnet. You've been most helpful.


I wondered about other examples as well.


Post Edited (02-10-04 19:20)

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