From the so-bad-that-they're-good department...
(Poem #285) On a Stupendous Leg of Granite, Discovered Standing by Itself in the Deserts of Egypt, with the Inscription Inserted Below
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.
"It appears that in 1817 Shelley held a sonnet-writing session with his friend, the poet Horace Smith. Both wrote a sonnet on the same subject, but while Shelley came up with Ozymandias, Mr Smith produced something so delightfully horrendous I simply have to indulge [myself] even further, and include it here as well. The poem was cited by Guy Davenport of the University of Kentucky in a New York Times article a few years ago, which concluded: "Genius may also be knowing how to title a poem." " -- Leo Breebaart, in the Annotated Pratchett File v7a.0, which you can read in its entirety at http://www.us.lspace.org/books/apf/index.html thomas. [Links] Shelley's famous sonnet can be found at poem #22 Surprisingly enough, Ozymandias is the only poem of his to have featured on the Minstrels - I guess neither Martin nor myself are fans enough. Readers are invited to rectify the situation with guest submissions. A web search for a biography of Horace Smith, Poet failed to turn up anything of interest. I wonder why.