"Explore how poets create pictures of, and lead us to wonder about, the Past."

Essay by BlondyemHigh School, 10th gradeA+, January 2004

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I am going to compare 'The Listeners' by Walter de la Mare, and 'Ozymandias' by Percy Bysshe Shelley, along with some pieces from other poems I have studied.

'Ozymandias' is about a mean and power hungry pharaoh who ruled Egypt centuries ago. Now all that remains is a statue in the middle of a desolate wasteland.

'The Listeners' is like a chapter from the middle of a book. In the poem a man, the Traveller, rides up to an old, seemingly abandoned house in the middle of a forest. He knocks on the door. The Listeners are there but no-one answers. The Traveller says something to the house, but you get the feeling that some unknown comprehension passed between the Traveller and the Listeners.

'Ozymandias' makes you think that there was a great city around the statue when it was first built. Shelley gives you this impression by making Ozymandias boast about his kingdom.

"Look on my works, ye Mighty and despair!" This is basically saying to God, that Ozymandias thinks he has a better kingdom and is more powerful than God. Shelley also says that "nothing beside remains". All that is left of Ozymandias now, is a statue whose "shattered visage" lies in the sand, alone and forgotten. The poem suggests that the statue is only a faint rumour as the author heard about it through a "traveller from an antique land". This is similar to 'the Listeners' because the Traveller rides to a house, which is "leaf-fringed" "lone," "empty," "echoing," and "shadowy". These words suggest that the house is uncared for and hasn't been lived in for a long time.

Walter de la Mare makes the reader wonder about the past by not telling the audience things like: Are the phantoms related to the Traveller? What...