Long Barrow, Torrisholme

Regular readers will know my love of ancient earthworks. The one pictured is of a Bronze Age barrow, an elongated burial chamber overlooking Torrisholme, near Morecambe. It commands excellent views of the bay and surrounding hills. Although modern housing encroaches on its slopes, its original prominence can still be appreciated.

Although not quite as grand as Ozymandias’ fallen statue, the trouble taken to build this tomb surely indicates the regard and awe the deceased commanded in his or her lifetime:

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.”


Where now is the tomb’s occupant? Who now fears his gaze or enacts his will? Remanded in Hades, he is, awaiting judgment, like the slaves who built it and the peasants who paid for it.

What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave? Selah.
Psalm 89:48