Sunday, 7 October 2012

400 years before Christ

400 years before the feet of Our Saviour touched the earth, this sarcophagus was carved from a single piece of stone and a now forgotten king interred within.

It stands today at a crossway in the Turkish town of Kas, Antiphellos in ancient times, on the Lycian coast.
A little battered but still basically intact.

Who knows but Our Lady may well have looked on it as she journeyed to Ephesus; surely, it must have also known the gaze of St Paul?

What struck me was the fact that so many opponents of the Faith challenge the existence of Christ who had so many testaments to his works and life, yet here is a solid lump of some hard rock that pre dates the Lord by four centuries, yet no one would, very obviously, dispute its provenance.

The fact that the king interred within the sarcophagus has long been forgotten is poignant.
Whereas, the real King of Kings is remembered throughout the world.

And, to really put time in its place, Christ walked the earth less than 750,000 days ago.


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.


  1. Dear Richard,

    Good stuff! Thanks!

    The Romantics are a curious lot; they get so many things so right, but then fail to comprehend the genuinely transcendent, such as the ancient Faith.

    Tennyson and Wordsworth are often faulted by superannuated adolescents (still living in a 1968 that never really was) for maturing and returning to faith, even though in the inadequate Henrican thing, but their pilgrimages through life make their later poetry even richer.

    One wonders what Keats might have accomplished had he not died so young; The work he left us is a gift to civilization indeed.

    Shelley's "Ozymandias" speaks truth to the powerful, addictive acquisition of stuff, stuff, stuff, most of it made in China.

  2. Not quite finished...

    "...far away."

    I had to declaim this wonderful poem at school as a public speaking exercise, so I do remember how it ends!

    It still sends shivers down my spine.


  3. Jonathan - many thanks, a sloppy bit of cutting and pasting on my part.