"My name is Ozymandias
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
That's all I could read. Even the reproduction of the Traveller's tale on Mohamad Fayed's wall is not available for viewing now. No entry. Wall under repair.
The impermanence of things, the short life of glory, the proneness of egos to self destruct. Stones crumble, walls needing repair, even glory has to be retouched. In that distant land the Traveller saw two trunkless legs of stone, and half sunk in the sand, a shattered visage. The land is far away and lonely and level sands stretch far away.
So haunting and enough to send a cold chill up the spine and a mystery wrapped in distance and time. Flatness, loneliness and decay of grandeur undone, ego falling flat on its face in the sand. How befitting, in the ostentation of Harrods that was once Mr Mohamad Al Fayed's flagship company (now the property of sand-filled Qatar). This is the territory of Arab opulence, princes of the desert drive up in their booming expensive cars just to park them by the roadside for the deprived to see. The princes, probably plebs with newly found wealth, strutting Ozymandias-like, look at my works and despair.
This is one of the most famous sonnets in the English language, in iambic pentameter. Some say this is the greatest in the language yet it was written in no more than a quarter of an hour when Percy Bysshe Shelley engaged in a playful contest with his friend Horace Smith, a poetry-scribbling stockbroker.
"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."
- Percy Bysshe Shelley