Composed probably between 26 and 28 December 1817. The sonnet was first published in The Examiner on 11 January 1818 over the name GLIRASTES, and was followed on 1 February by a sonnet of Horace Smith’s with the same title, introduced in these words: The subject which suggested the beautiful Sonnet, in a late number, signed “Glirastes”, produced also the enclosed from another pen, which, if you deem it worthy insertion, is at your service’. The text of Smith’s sonnet – which was subsequently reprinted in his Amarynthus the Nytnpholept (1821) under the title On a Stupendous Leg of Granite, Discovered Standing by itself in the deserts of Egypt, with the inscription inserted below’ – reads as follows (Examiner No. 527, p. 73): 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 fragments huge, and stops to guess What powerful but unrecorded race Once dwelt in that annihilated place. Smith stayed for two nights after Christmas 1817 at Marlow, and the two sonnets were probably written then in friendly competition. Leigh Hunt’s later mistake in sending S.’s Ozymandias’ to Monckton Milnes as the Nile sonnet written in competition with himself and Keats (see no. 163 and headnote) may have arisen partly from his remembrance that this sonnet had also been the product of a friendly contest. The title ‘The Revolt of Islam’ is written in ink at right angles to the draft of the poem in Nbk 5 f. 85v; this revised name was presumably adopted as a result of the conference with S.’s publisher on 15 December (see headnote to L&C), which helps to confirm the date. S.’s pseudonym is a jokey compound of Lat. Glis (dormouse) and Gk εραστής (lover) to make GLIRASTES, ‘dormouse-lover’. ‘The Dormouse’ was one of S.’s pet names for Mary S. (see no. 104).