Ozymandias Speaks

Ozymandias Speaks


First of all, I don't know this drifter who told you about me. I'm working with second-hand information, which is never the best. Why don't you and I speak directly about ourselves, leaving speculation and gossip behind, where they belong?

To start with: No one ever says, Oh, someone in the future who hasn't been born yet, they don't matter now...oh, it's so sad how the as-yet-unborn Rimoctxico of Thebal-7 doesn't matter yet, how nobody knows his name, like a reverse Cheers, poor Rimoctxico of Thebal-7...he doesn't have any statues yet...if you were to go to the desert right now, you wouldn't find any statues to Rimoctxico of Thebal-7, not even the legs!! So I don't see why you should make such a meal out my statue being worn down to some feet and a face after three thousand years. Go build a statue that you think will last longer, if you want to use my statue as some sort of instruction against hubris...

Look, the thing is, everything on my pedestal still holds true:

  1. My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings (among other names!!! I have other names, and even other king names! You have simply heard of [you haven't even seen it yourself! You're just taking the word of some deadbeat who claims he say it, but I digress!!!] one of my many statues depicting one of my many kingly names! I have a statue for Ramesses the Great, another one for Setepenre Elect-of-Re, another for Great Ancestor, another for Great-in-Victory, Beloved of Amun, Kanakht Merymaa, Mekkemetwafkhasut, and that's just the ones I can remember off the top of my head!).
  2. "Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!" was obviously meant for my contemporaries!! And guess what: they did! It's not a "gotcha" that I later died and time kept moving on! I knew that was going to happen! Just because you didn't happen to be alive while I was alive and powerful doesn't mean that my death was a tragic downfall! Maybe you're the self-centered one here!!

And don't you ubi sunt me, you son of a bitch! If anything, ubi es? Where's your shattered monument? Who ever inscribed a pedestal of yours? By my count, your inscriptions are none! It's not my fault the deserts of Egypt or boundless and bare! That is not a damning indictment of having been a king! The lone and level sands stretched far away back then too!

I also resent the implication that my sculptor must necessarily have had contempt for me, and wrought stealthy, subversive criticism of my character into the triumphalist statue of my face!! I don't think he did that at all!

It was a great statue! I was a great king! People did look on my works and despair! And a lot of them were pretty mighty! It was a good idea to put all those statues up! You want to feel sorry for someone, go feel sorry for Rimoctxico of Thebal-7, whose statues don't even exist yet! Or feel sorry for yourself, going through people's trash and talking about the passage of time like it's some sort of personal indictment. You're living in the past, man! Quit living in the past.

"What a sad idiot, for not being born yet! Let's all go feel overweening pity, sorrow, and unsolicited condescension for poor stupid Rimoctxico of Thebal-7, who doesn't even have the good sense to be alive, who has no statues in the desert, what a commentary on mortality and the brevity of life that is!!!!" – That's you, that's what you sound like.

[Image via Wikimedia Commons]