O’er sea and sky he spreads his girth.
Man is the lord of all on earth,
Save these two things, of little worth:
His past and future, death and birth.
O, men may walk and men may run
Up stairs that tower to the sun,
And yet know not, when all is done,
What makes the earth her course to run.
O, men may die and men may kill
And men may drink of death at will,
But where’s the man can claim the skill
To wake the corpse when once ’tis still?
O, men may live, and men may make
All manner of kingdoms for man’s sake,
But where’s the man his life would stake
One single, living flower to make?
How strange it is that man should be
Master of earth and sky and sea,
And still to life hold not the key,
Nor yet to his own destiny.