Monday, September 08, 2008

trunkless legs of stone

I notice we've had Yeats, Kipling, and Shakespeare on these pagesover the last few days, so I guess now that "the head, right arm and lower legs of a huge statue of Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius have been uncovered by archaeologists in the ancient city of Sagalassos in Turkey", we can have some Shelley too:

I met a traveler 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 Ozymandius, 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.
The Emperor who wrote "soon you'll be ashes or bones; a mere name at most, and even that is just a sound, an echo" would approve.

I can't recommend the Meditations too highly:

When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: The people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous, and surly. They are like this because they can't tell good from evil. But I have seen the beauty of good and the ugliness of evil, and have recognized that the wrongdoer has a nature related to my own... and possessing a share of the divine. And so none of them can hurt me. No one can implicate me in ugliness. Nor can I feel angry at my relative, or hate him.

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