On June 23, 2017, the Wall Street Journal published David Lehman's essay "What Trumps Vain Boasts: Shelley’s ‘Ozymandias’ serves as a reminder that time mocks us all." The essay, part of the WSJ's "Masterpiece" series, sparked a lively debate in the comments. I've pasted them below and inserted a picture of Percy Bysshe Shelley. You can read the essay and add your comments here: -- SDH
T. Tatka 3 days ago Percy created Ozymandias and his wife, Mary, created Frankenstein. A coincidence?
David C Smith 4 days ago The poet struts his politics upon the little stage and then, his smirk dissolving in the weedy smoke, fades out. The statue stays.
Richard Lentz 5 days ago Can't bear to see a story about poetry without making a haiku or two:
Poster child for term limits
Keeps his head in sand
Can not withstand erosion
Trunkless man indeed.
Tweets carved in sandstone
Another faulty hard drive
Our stuff’s in the cloud
William Braun 5 days ago Even before I read the comments I knew - I just knew - people would turn this into a defense of Trump the president instead of the use of the verb 'trump'.
Al Nunez 6 days ago I pray that my sons will read this and be as inspired and motivated to read more poetry and books that inspire and elevate and take the time to contemplate and wrestle with the imperfectness of life and strive to make this world a better place by being a better person.
D Schultz 6 days ago A pity that the analysis of a "masterwork" has been subtly suborned for crassly partisan ends.
Kathleen Adams 6 days ago Timeless truths for our times.
Dwight Oxley 6 days ago One of the most beautiful of essays. Hats off to WSJ for printing this. Few, if any, other papers go this far.
NAT IRVIN 6 days ago A powerful and timely reminder of the dangers of vanity not only in our would be rulers but those whose own vainglory would worship them, having forsook [sic] all sense of modesty, commonsense, and a sense of both time and place... cheers.
JON NELSON 6 days ago This email has nothing to do with our president. Donald Trump is an extremely competent man who believes in himself and the United States. That is certainly not the definition of "vanity."
Vincent Tedone 6 days ago @JON NELSON Well said. This author is promoting his own book what could be more Vain?
Don Hudson 6 days ago @JON NELSON The "message" in Shelley's "Ozymandias" most certainly does apply to Mr Trump. The WSJ's inclusion of Shelley's sonnet is an ironic stroke of journalistic inspiration. It applies to all, but particularly to those who believe their power, their supreme competence, their force-of-will and their "works" are gifts to mankind. The message is, Time mocks hubris; the mighty always fall. Mr Trump would not know of or comprehend the scientific concept of entropy, but he is it; just wait a while.
Dwight Oxley 6 days ago @Don Hudson @JON NELSON Very well stated.
D Schultz D Schultz 6 days ago @Don Hudson @JON NELSON Don Hudson: "The message is, Time mocks hubris; the mighty always fall." --- I'm reminded by your observation of the contrast between polling widely and gleefully reported in early November 2016, and the weeping and gnashing of teeth that began on the morning of November 9. Now we've seen analogous ruination in microcosm in Georgia (though much of the weeping and gnashing this time is set, curiously, in places like San Francisco). Will Democrats never learn the perils of hubris? (See https://www.vox.com/2016/4/21/11451378/smug-american-liberalism .)
Chris Marrou 6 days ago @D Schultz @Don Hudson @JON NELSON I was going to be polite, but the comments about Mr. Trump have pushed me to recall a TV show I saw a few years ago. A reporter asked famous liberal TV anchor Dan Rather if he knew how the poem at the base of the Statue of Liberty read. He was, quite literally, dumbfounded, having no idea of "give me your tired, your poor" or of Emma Lazarus. Perhaps Donald Trump will be Ozymandias some day, but Dan Rather already is.
Don Hudson 5 days ago @D Schultz @Don Hudson @JON NELSON Thank you for your response D. Schultz. Hubris, and the Ozymandias Syndrome, (shall we call it?), again, is not limited to those with whom we mildly (or profoundly) disagree; it applies equally to all who believe their own mythology that they are somehow better and mightier than the rest of us. Each is swallowed by history, some more swiftly than others, but that is about as good as it gets. A wailing, and a gnashing of teeth is not the metric by which the fate of "Ozymandians" are to be measured; at a minimum it's a half-century. But for the present circus with its habitual lying and meandering dysfunction, who remembers Nixon? We may romanticize Reagan but do we really remember the details; and Mr Clinton's presidency? - we remember cigars, and Mr. Carter's - the failed rescue. No one is immune to history. Unremarkable or genius, friend or foe, loved or hated, charming or ignominious, nobody casts the "better" shadow than his or her contemporaries.
David Chu 4 days ago @Vincent Tedone @JON NELSON Usually it's an editor who comes up with the headline, not the writer himself; but I agree the title is rather gratuitous.
steve petarra 1 day ago @Don Hudson @JON NELSON Boo, Hiss.
Don Hudson 22 hours ago @steve petarra @Don Hudson @JON NELSON Mr Petarra..."boo, hiss"...is that all there is? Just two onomatopoeic syllables and the rest is silence?