Percy Bysshe Shelley was the husband of Mary Shelley (writer of Frankenstein) and a contemporary and friend of Lord Byron. He is widely regarded as the finest poet of the Romantic period and possibly the greatest English poet of all time. A philosopher and atheist , expelled from Oxford for the publication of a pamphlet entitled "The
Necessity of Atheism", Shelley led an itinerant life and died in 1822, drowned.
was written in 1818, in the same year that he
started on his most famous work, "Prometheus
Unbound". At the time he was wandering in
Italy and Venice with Mary and Clare Claremont,
the cast-off lover of Byron, and the melancholy
that affected him during that time shows through
clearly in "Ozymandias".
"Ozymandias" is perhaps better known as
Rameses II, ruler of Egypt in the 13th century
BC. The poem has been interpreted in a number of
different ways, but all center on the irony in
Ozymandias' declaration that the
"Mighty" should "look upon my
works, and despair".
many other poems during this time, of which
"Prometheus Unbound" remains the best known. Four
years later, he died, drowned at sea, with the
conviction that his work would never receive
interested, a full biography of Percy Shelley's
life and his works is available at Bartleby's.