Scholars and Gentlemen
It has been suggested by one of my therapists
that in order to boost my circulation I should dumb down. I am of course talking about my musings as Jakartass and not my increasingly decrepit physical condition.
Anyway, dumb down? Not when I've got readers like Miko who impressed me by trumping the Hazlitt quote in my last post with his comment
about Dubai and Ozymandias. I did wonder if he was referring to a comic
, but no, silly me. As befits a graduate from a high class (i.e. famous) university, he was remembering that the husband of the author of Frankenstein
, Percy Byshhe Shelley, wrote a sonnet in December 1817 during a writing contest. And this
is it.---------------------OZYMANDIAS---------I met a traveller from an antique land---------Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone---------Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,---------Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown---------And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
---------Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
---------Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,---------The hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed.
---------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.
Yep, that sums up Dubai in, say fifty years. A city built on sand? I think the Bible has something to say on that but, leaving religion to one side so I don't have to refer to Hazlitt again, what of the competition which Shelley took part in?
His fellow competitor was Horace Smith
who, like most Smiths, has not received immortality through his writings. This could be because his contribution with the same title is somewhat ponderous, as these closing lines demonstrate.---------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.
I'm fond of London because it's my home town and its history can still be seen in its buildings, parks and other facilities. It's a city that has survived and thrived for 2,000 years, with citizens who can trace their lineage back through the centuries. (Mine is at least six generations strong.)
But whither Jakarta? There are few proud of their heritage, few who can trace their family history back through more than two or three generations. And that's
how long I give the city before its sinks back into the swamp from which it arose.---------Man has gone---------Where the mangroves went---------And nothing remains beneath,---------Save the white bones of half-remembered homes.---------- Jakartass, in adulation, but not emulation, of EJ Thribb