THE SPIRIT OF MAN
O Heart of man, what is this quest
In ocean’s bed, on mountain’s crest?
A million miles in heaven’s blue
And yet your spirit yearns anew.
Whence comes this heady daring plan
All nature’s heights and depths to scan?
Some worldly goal your faith attains;
Illusion in the heart remains.
No artist yet content was found;
He seeks perfection’s utmost bound:
No masterpiece can e’er allay
The feverish effort of the day.
The mountain conquered, there remain
Far greater heights to seek and gain:
A records stands, a challenge, there;
Think you the spirit will not dare?
“By wealth and power I will succeed;
Subdue the world while others bleed.”
But empires all, how’er renowned,
Their way to dusty death have found.
What, then, O man, must you despair,
The end you seek still unaware?
Is all the striving, all the strain
But effort lost, the guerdon pain?
What need to see perfection gained?
Why not content with what’s attained?
Achievement shattered in your hands,
New ventures follow, new demands.
Ah, spirit born in climes afar,
A stranger with no guiding star,
A sojourner ’mid hostile kind,
Your destiny but ill divined.
You know not yet, for all you’ve braved,
That this Perfection man has craved
Itself, like man, the earth has trod;
And there are some would call it God.