Back when Dennis Miller was one of the undefined on Monday Night Football, ABC found it necessary after games to post explanations of the eclectic comedian’s erudite references on the MNF website. I was reminded of this after yesterday’s Day by Day cartoon featured a lonely statue of Al Gore in a snowy wasteland, with the words etched on the pedestal mostly obscured by snow drifts. Nevertheless, the words that were visible may have rang a bell in a seldom-used hallway of my mind. Ah, yes … Shelley’s “Ozymandius”, the sonnet dedicated to the hubris of Man, though Ozymandius’s statue was located in a desert waste instead of a snowy one. Oh well, with a high temperature forecast for tomorrow of -2F here in Minnesota, the comic gave me a warm feeling.
Here’s the unobscured text of “Ozymandius”:
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.