(btw the British Museum in London was a magnet to the romantic poets including notably Keats; seen as a dynamic centre of endeavour and new discovery unlike our own rather musty view of such places.)
He wrote in competition with his friend Horace Smith whose own less known poem of the same title follows.
In Egypt's sandy silence, all alone,
Stands a gigantic Leg, which far off throws
The only shadow that the Desert knows:—
"I am great OZYMANDIAS," saith the stone,
"The King of Kings; this mighty City shows
"The wonders of my hand."— The City's gone,—
Nought but the Leg remaining to disclose
The site of this forgotten Babylon.
We wonder,—and some Hunter may express
Wonder like ours, when thro' the wilderness
Where London stood, holding the Wolf in chace,
He meets some fragment huge, and stops to guess
What powerful but unrecorded race
Once dwelt in that annihilated place.
Thank you to M.chohan for the use of this photo.