Saturday, July 23, 2011


So let it be written; so let it be done.”

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.
—a sonnet by Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1818

Since the poem is getting close to two hundred years old, i dont expect Coca Cola, Disney, or Rupert Murdoch holds the copyright. I include the sonnet complete.

And who is Ozymandias? A greek historian from Sicily, Diodoros Sikeliotes (Siculus), who lived slightly more than a generation before Jesus used a greek form of one of the names of faro Ramses II, Usermaatre Setepenre. Ramses II, is widely believed, faro in Exodus. He reigned for two generations centered in the 13th century before Christ. Yul Brynner in the movie. Brynner caught the fearsome arrogance well.

Ramses II makes the paper every once in a while (a, b). He like Louis XIV had such a long reign, that, he outlived several heirs. Louis (the Sun King) Quatorze reigned 72 years and was succeeded by a great grandson. Ramses reigned 66 years and was succeeded by his 13th son, the then elderly Merneptah.

Damnatio memoriae, complete condemnation and eradication from memory, was shown in the movie,‘Ten Commandments’, where faro (Yul’s father) Set(h)i said,
Let the name of Moses be stricken from every book and tablet, stricken from all pylons and obelisks, stricken from every monument of Egypt. Let the name of Moses be unheard and unspoken, erased from the memory of men for all time.
Now, archæological record shows Ramses II had monuments defaced from the Amarna (a monotheistic period) age of Akhenaten (Amenhotep IV). The latin phrase came from the time the senate, or the emperor so hated a predecessor they attempted to erase him from memory. George Orwell (Eric Blair) showed this in ‘1984’, Winston Smith's job was the continual revision of history; occasionally someone fell into the memory hole, and was scrubbed from history. This was a reference to how things were done frequently under stalinism.

The age of faros is gone. History still records the existence of the past, contrary to the desire of some revisionists. Getting back to Shelley, My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings: Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!. You can see these words coming from Brynner.

Ozymandias/Ramses is gone 3000 years, the statue is a ruin. It was believed that existence continued of the person in his monuments. The drama of erasure was great. Shelley alludes to the sands of time that cover the interval of passage. One can contemplate the legacy of any personage, and wonder of his importance, and his own. Life and reputation are transitory.

No comments:

Post a Comment