The two poems called “Jade Flower Palace” and “Ozymandias” are very similar in theme but have two different expressions. The similarities of these two fascinating poems are that both discuss great men who accomplish mighty deeds, but the symbols of their glory and power are fading away.

In “Jade Flower Palace”, the poem imparts a fear of future failures and a feeling of remorse for the times of glory that are past, yet leaves room for circumstances to change. Percy Byssche Shelley’s poem “Ozymandias”, on the other hand, communicates an uncomfortable feeling; it mocks and belittles. The differences are related in the images that these poems present.

“Jade Flower Palace” mentions the statue of a horse in the center of a courtyard. The horse is a symbol of past strength and power. This symbol makes the future look questionable--if past glories won by man’s might have faded, what will the future hold? “Ozymandias” tells of a statue with only its legs and its broken, fallen head remaining. The man’s face has a cold, cruel, callous expression. The pedestal that the legs are on reads: “Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!” It is implying that all the glory of his works are dust and have fallen away. Those who think that they are so powerful will find their works will soon be dust. It seems like he is just waiting for someone to fail so he can mock them. Though similar in theme, these poems have quite the contrast in tone.

What was that? A king sitting in his bed is overcome with fear from the dream that befell him. He must find out what it means!

“Call the wise men, magicians, and astrologers and tell them to come to me immediately.” 

A few minutes later the wise men enter. The king, still nervous and disturbed by his dream, shouts at the wise men as they enter: “You must tell me what my dream means! I dreamt that….that-I do not remember. How can this be?” 

The wise men, not sure of what to do, tell the king that they cannot tell him the interpretation unless he remembers what he dreamt. The king, furious, orders that because they cannot tell him his dream all the wise men in the land must be executed at once! 

Daniel, one of the wise men, is sitting with his companions when suddenly a guard of the palace bursts in. “You must come with us! It is the king’s orders!”  The men are astonished by this command and humbly ask why this decision was made. “The king had a dream which he could not remember and his wise men could neither tell him what he dreamt nor interpret it.” Daniel and his friends plead for time to pray and for mercy upon the other wise men. 

That night as Daniel prays, God reveals the king’s dream to him. In this dream was a statue representing the nations of the world. The head (gold) represented Babylon; the chest and arms (silver) represented Medo-Persia; the belly and thighs (brass) represented Greece under Alexander; the legs (iron) represented Rome; and the feet (iron/clay) represented the Eastern and Western Roman empires. The ten toes represented the European confederacy. Unexpectedly, a rock came and destroyed the statue and nothing was left. This rock is Christ. His kingdom will, in the end, overpower and destroy the earth’s kingdoms and He will establish His own glorious kingdom. Unlike “Jade Flower Palace’s” fear of the future and “Ozymandias’s” hopelessness, the king’s dream portrayed that while man’s kingdoms may fail and crumble away, there will be a kingdom that will endure!