BQB here. It’s weird. This poem is basically Shelley’s attempt to smack us all down a peg. It’s like, “Look, you might be hot shit, but even the great pharaohs of old ended up as dust.” Oddly enough, it comforts me to know that in a way, it doesn’t matter I wasted so much of my life in front of the TV, eating pizza, because I’m just going to end up a pile of dust anyway. You think that was Shelley’s point?
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 Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look upon 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.