The poem is called Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley

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.”

I think the passage says "The frown, lip and sneer tell us that the sculptor read well the passions of the king which outlived the hand of the sculptor and the heart that fed the passions."

It should have been "the heart that fed them", but the word "them" is omitted, is this the case?

  • The verb fed refers to the passions implicitly. It can be there, or it can be omitted. But the object is better omitted when it is obvious and known to readers. Mar 3, 2019 at 9:08

1 Answer 1


The object of "fed" has been omitted for poetic reasons. It could not be "The heart that fed them" as this would break both the rhyme (with "read") and the meter of the poem.

Poets have licence to bend and sometimes break the "rules" to make interesting verse.

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