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Quotes / Look on My Works, Ye Mighty, and Despair

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Somebody once told me
His works, he'd like to show me
He thought they'd fill me with awe and dread
He was looking kind of dumb
Just two legs out in the sun
And his visage a broken stone head
Well, the years start coming and they don't stop coming
Statues are built and they hit the ground crumbling
"Didn't make sense not to build real high!"
Though naught is left but the desert sky
"So much I've done for you to see!
So what's wrong with looking upon me?"
We'll never know what the king shewed
We only know what the man hewed
Hey now, King of Kings now, built to last now, heyday
Hey now, all is gone now, fell to naught now, decay
Nothing beside remains
Only level sands stretch away
Patera Quetzal, to the tune of "All Star"

We hold all Earth to plunder—
All Time and Space as well—
Too wonder-stale to wonder
At each new miracle;
Till in the mid-illusion
Of Godhead 'neath our hand,
Falls multiple confusion
On all we did or planned—
The mighty works we planned.
Rudyard Kipling, excerpt from "Hymn of Breaking Strain"

And what if she had seen those glories fade,
Those titles vanish, and that strength decay;
Yet shall some tribute of regret be paid
When her long life hath reached its final day:
Men are we, and must grieve when even the Shade
Of that which once was great is passed away.
William Wordsworth, On the Extinction of the Venetian Republic

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 shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked 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.
Percy Bysshe Shelley, "Ozymandias"

IN Egypt's sandy silence, all alone,
Stands a gigantic Leg, which far off throws
The only shadow that the Desart 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.

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 fragment huge, and stops to guess
What powerful but unrecorded race
Once dwelt in that annihilated place.
Horace Smith, "Ozymandias"

Far-called, our navies melt away;
On dune and headland sinks the fire:
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet.
Lest we forget—lest we forget!
Rudyard Kipling, "Recessional"

"More than a thousand years of conflicts, hates and loves - all reduced to dust in these tombs. Nothing remains of the ancient princes of Vieda, but the dead shadows of their former glory."
Dr. Thomas Kruvajan, Black Sunday

"This place was the beginning of the end for my family. A dragon is not a slave. They were terrifying. Extraordinary. They filled people with wonder and awe, and we locked them in here. They wasted away. They grew small. And we grew small as well. We weren't extraordinary without them. We were just like everyone else."
Daenerys about the Targaryen Dynasty's loss of their dragons and subsequent decline, Game of Thrones, "The Dragon and the Wolf"

All of Man's works, all his cities, all his empires, all his monuments will one day crumble to dust. Even the houses of my own dear readers must - though it be for just one day, one hour - be ruined and become houses where the stones are mortared with moonlight, windowed with starlight and furnished with the dusty wind. It is said that in that day, in that hour, our houses become the possessions of the Raven King.
Jonathan Strange, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

Los Voraces was a golden city,
As the history writers all have penned.
But her days were numbered in that heavenly book,
And she pushed her own button in the end.
The Stan Freberg Show, "Incident at Los Voraces"

Higher beings, these words are for you alone.
Beyond this point you enter the land of King and Creator.
Step across this threshold and obey our laws.
Bear witness to the last and only civilisation, the eternal Kingdom.
Hollow Knight, a lore tablet at the entrance to the kingdom of Hallownest, which is a plague-ridden ruin.

Oh, where do we begin?
The rubble or our sins?
Oh, oh, where do we begin?
The rubble or our sins?

And the walls kept tumbling down
In the city that we loved
Gray clouds roll over the hills
Bringing darkness from above

But if you close your eyes
Does it almost feel like nothing changed it all?
And if you close your eyes
Does it almost feel like you've been here before?
How am I gonna be an optimist about this?
How am I gonna be an optimist about this?
If you close your eyes
Does it almost feel like nothing changed at all?
Bastille, "Pompeii"