Portrait of Philip IV by Velasquez

OF THE "shattered visage" of one Ozymandias who had held himself to be the "king of kings" Shelley wrote

. . . whose frown And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on those lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed . . .
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Read into these lines imperial Spain, the Spain of Charles V, of Philip II and his Armada, the Spain of the Hapsburgs and the Bourbons; all, by the grace of time, growth, progress, by the grace of God are gone. And Philip IV, well-meaning, pleasure-loving, weak, by virtue of the arts which flourished on the decaying refuse heap of a great empire, by the penetration of a master painter's mind who served and knew him well, Philip lives on.

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