As my “Miss Crankypants Business Writer” alter ego, I wrote about Citigroup’s breakup after the financial behemoth finally — finally! got the strong hint that it needed to debloat. Naturally, I likened Citigroup to Ozymandias.

You know:

 My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair

The Wikipedia entry had this intriguing bit, that Shelley wrote his Ozymandias in a friendly contest with poet Horace Smith.

This is Smith’s version, first stanza:

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.

 Same subject, theme, imagery. And then, the second stanza:

 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 fragments huge, and stops to guess
What powerful but unrecorded race
Once dwelt in that annihilated place.

 Smith was writing post-apocalyptic science fiction. Wow. I have not had a shock of recognition like that in a while.


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