‘Ozymandias’ is one of the greatest poems of the renowned
poet P.B. Shelley. Ozymandias was a mighty and famous
king of Egypt. He got his own statue built. The poet came to
know through a traveller that Ozymandias’ statue was seen
by him in a broken condition. His trunk less statue stands
lonely in the desert. Under the statue are inscribes the
words : ‘My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings’. Thus, in
this poem the poet brings out the vanity of human pomp
and power. Everything in this world is subject to decay. The
name and fame of mighty and powerful human beings is
short lived. Time may be a great healer, but it is also a
About the Poet
The son of a Rich Tory Squire,
Percy Bysshe Shelley was
educated at Eton and then send
to Oxford. Shelley came under
the influence of revolutionary
ideas of the English philosopher,
William Godwin, whose daughter,
Mary Godwin he ultimately
married. In 1818, Shelley left for
Italy; he drowned in the Bay of
Spezia in 1822.
-By William Shakespeare
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 upon 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.
Summary of the Poem
Once the poet met a traveller from the ancient land
of Egypt. He told the poet the story of an Egyptian
king named Ozymandias. The traveller told him that
he had seen two huge legs of stone standing in the
desert of Egypt. The legs were trunk less. A
shattered visage lay by the side of these huge legs.
It lay half-buried in the sand. It had a frown on its
brow. It had wrinkled lips. It had a sneering look.
There was an expression of cold command in its
eyes. These things stamped on the visage showed
that the sculptor had understood the king’s
passions on stone had died, but his art was still
Similarly, the king whose heart fed those cruel
passions on stone had died, but the signs of his
cruelty could still be seen. The poet means to
suggest that a man dies but his actions outlive him.
The following words were written on the pedestal of
the statue :
“My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings :
Look upon my works, ye! Mighty, and despair!”
The traveller told the poet that now nothing
remained of that proud king. No trace of his power
was left on the sands of time. There was nothing but
sand round the decay of that huge statue. It lay all in
Round it the lone, level and barren sands of the
desert stretch far away.
Questions from the text
A. Answer these questions in about 30-40 words each :
Q.1. In which state had the traveller seen the statue of Ozymandias?
Where had he seen it?
Ans: The traveller had seen the statue in a desert of Egypt. It was no
completely destroyed. Two trunkless huge legs of stone remained
standing in the desert.
Q.2. How does the poet describe the expression on Ozymandias’
Ans: The shattered face of ozymandias’ statue lay half-buried in the
sand. It had a frown on its brow. It had wrinkled lips. It had a sneering
look showing cold command in his eyes.
Q.3. How do you think is the meaning of ‘Nothing beside remains’?
Ans: It means that no trace of ozymandias power was seen on the
sands of time. There was only vast desert sand around the decay of
his huge statue.
Q.4. Where was the statue seen and how was the place described by
Ans: The statue of Ozymandias was found by a traveller in a desert. It
was trunkless and lay in a shattered condition. The place is describes,
sandy, vast and lonely.
Q.5. “My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings”. What does it show
Ans: On the broken and shattered statue of Ozymandias was written
that “My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings”. It shows that
Ozymandias was vain and proud. He thought that it would make him
Q.6. “Look on my works” – Where were the works of Ozymandias?
Ans: Ozymandias was very proud of his might and achievements. But
his works are nowhere to be found. There was nothing but sand
round the decay of his huge statue.
B. Answer these questions in about 60-70 words each :
Q.1. What do you think is the central idea of the poem ‘Ozymandias’?
Ans: This poem depicts the vanity of human pomp and power.
Everything in this world is subject to decay. Even the mightiest of
human beings are destroyed by the time. Nothing remains of them.
Ozymandias was a very powerful king of Egypt. He thought that he
was ‘King of Kings’ and have tremendous achievements to his credit.
But all his glory and power were long forgotten. Even his statue lay in
Q.2. Do you think the ‘mighty’ of today will despair while looking at
what remains of Ozymandias?
Ans: Ozymandias raised his own huge statue to immortalize his name.
but his statue lay in a shattered condition on the desert. So, it shows
that all material objects are subject to decay. I think looking at the
broken statue of Ozymandias, the ‘mighty’ of today can learn a
lesson. They should ‘despair’ looking at what happened to the statue
Q.3. How, in your view, was the sculptor of statue of Ozymandias as
Ans: The sculptor who made the huge statue of Ozymandias must be
a very good artist. He seems to be a good judge of human character.
He was able to read well the passions of the king’s heart. He stamped
them very correctly on the face of the king’s statue. The traveller told
the poet that the sculptor who stamped the expressions on the
king’s face had died, but his art was still alive.
Q.4. How does the poet depict kingly tyranny and vanity in the poem
Ans: The poet thinks that the kingly tyranny can neither save the king
from death nor do him any honour after death. Not tyranny or vanity,
but only his good deeds and his selfless service for the people can
immortalize him. Ozymandias was a powerful king. He thought
himself as ‘King of Kings.’ But these words written on the pedestal of
his statue show how short-sighted he was. Even his statue lies in
C. Answer the following questions by choosing the correct option
Q.1. The traveller was from :
Ans: b) Egypt
Q.2. The statue was :
b) Without trunk
c) Flat on the ground
d) Slightly inclined
Ans: b)without trunk
Q.3. The face of a statue had a :
a) Cheerful look
b) Commanding look
c) Sneering look
d) Authoritative look
Ans: c)sneering look
Q.4. The sculptor who made the statue was :
a) Aware of king’s habits
b) Aware of king’s achievements
c) Aware of king’s feelings
d) Aware of king’s feature
Ans: c) Aware of king’s feelings
Q.5. King Ozymandias as a king was :
Ans: a) proud
Q.6. The overall expression on the ‘visage’ was that of :
Ans: a) hatred
Presented By :
Class : X
Roll no. 03
Subject - English