Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Tuesday Poem: Ozymandias, by 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 chase,
He meets some fragment huge, and stops to guess
What powerful but unrecorded race
Once dwelt in that annihilated place.

- Horace Smith(1779-1849)

Percy Bysshe Shelley's poem Ozymandias is well-known. This companion poem by his friend Horace Smith is not so well-known, indeed, I had never heard of it until attending a course on poetic forms with Joanna Preston, where we were introduced to bout-rimé. The idea of bout-rimé is a sort of poetic game whereby the participants are given a set of end rhymes by another participant, and have to come up with a poem using those end rhymes in the given order. Shelley and Smith had read about the discovery of the statue of Ozymandias (the Greek name for Rameses II), and challenged each other to write a sonnet about it, beginning with set end rhymes.

The Tuesday Poets are a group of poets who each aim to post a poem on their blogs on Tuesdays. At the main hub site, one of the members acts as editor and posts a poem for the week, while all the participants are listed in the sidebar. There is lots of poetic inspiration to be found there if you click on through!

(Yes, it's Wednesday. I suddenly found this had not appeared on my blog, and discovered that it was still in "draft". So here it is, a day late).

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