Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley found inspiration in the long history of Egypt when he penned “Ozymandias” around 1818. In the poem, a traveler in the desert comes across the broken ruins of a huge statue:
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.
A meditation on impermanence, Shelley’s work shows how even the strongest are powerless against time and change.