Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction and Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel and post Colonial Asian Fiction, Yiddish Literature, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality historical novels are some of my Literary Interests

Sunday, October 8, 2017

“Ozymandias” by Percy Shelly and “The Second Coming” by William Butler Yeats

Poetry can help us understand history and our feelings to contemporary events.  In my recent readings of classic poems I have found two poems that seem almost a prophecy of political events in America, “Ozymandias” by Percy Shelley an “The Second Coming” by William Butler Yeats.  

“Ozymandias” (first published January 11,1818), The Greek name for the Egyptian Pharaoh Rameses II, struck me deeply in the perception the sculptor had of arrogant strutting buffonary of Ozymandias.  I wonder How long America’s fourth rate imitation will be remembered, will he 
cause great destruction before his end comes?  This is probably Shelly’s most read and taught  poem.  I hope to read more of his work and read Richard Holme’s highly regarded biography.

After the terrible results of the American Presidential election of November 2015 horrified all in the book Blog World, numerous posts quoting “The Second Coming”  (first published November 23, 1920) by William Butler Yeats were made on social media websites, suggesting, of course, the incomimg president was to be seen as The Rough Beast.  Like “The Wasteland”, this poem is partialy a vision of The post WW One world. Like that work,it makes use of ancient references.

 Of course other Ozymandias figures and other rough beasts will emerge.

Mel u



Fred said...

Mel u, Two, unfortunately, very apt poems. Let us hope that they are not portents of the future for us.

Mudpuddle said...

after reading your post yesterday, i was speculating about the influence of Ozymandias on Yeats... and now... brother, we must be on the same wavelength...

Mudpuddle said...

come to think of it, Yeats could be referring to the Sphinx, also...