166. PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY: Ozymandias
MORE POETRY COMICS: Ithaka. Invictus. Phenomenal Woman. The Road Not Taken.
Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822) was an English poet. Ozymandias is Shelley’s most famous poem and was the result of a friendly competition between him and fellow poet Horace Smith. They often would have a poetry battle where a topic was chosen and they would only have 15 minutes to finish a sonnet. You can compare Shelley’s and Smith’s poems on Wikipedia and read an extensive history of the poem in this article by The Economist.
Ozymandias enjoyed a boost in popularity last year after it was used as the title for one of the final episodes of Breaking Bad. In this promo, Bryan Cranston ominously recites the poem in character as Walter White, king of meth dealers.
UPDATE (March 2017): Looks like the remains of the real Ozymandias statue was just discovered in Egypt.
Thanks to Aaron, Marcos, Moor, Frédy, Stephen, Adrian and Aldrin for submitting this poem.