If the Eurozone unravels this week, some fitting epitaph must be inscribed. And who better than Percy Bysshe Shelley for something suitably, tragically magnificent.
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”.
But if grieving after Kings is not in order then perhaps, Charles K. Harris would run a close second. In 1892 he sold 2 million copies of these lyrics as sheet music. Total sales topped five million. His was a classic tale of dreams that could not outlast the magic of the moonlight.
After the ball is over,
After the break of morn –
After the dancers’ leaving;
After the stars are gone;
Many a heart is aching,
If you could read them all;
Many the hopes that have vanished
After the ball.