In what I do I note the marring flaw,
The imperfections of the work I see;
Nor am I one who rather DO than BE,
Since its reversal is Creation’s law.
Nay, since there lies a better and a worse,
A lesser and a larger, in men’s view,
I would be better than the thing I do,
As God is greater than His universe.
He shaped Himself before He shaped one world:
A million eons, toiling day and night,
He built Himself to majesty and might,
Before the planets into space were hurled.
And when Creation’s early work was done,
What crude beginnings out of chaos came –
A formless nebula, a wavering flame,
An errant comet, a voracious sun.
And, still unable to perfect His plan,
What awful creatures at His touch found birth –
Those protoplasmic monsters of the earth,
That owned the world before He fashioned Man.
And now, behold the poor unfinished state
Of this, His latest masterpiece! Then why,
Seeing the flaws in my own work, should I
Be troubled that no voice proclaims it great?
Before me lie the cycling rounds of years;
With this small earth will die the thing I do:
The thing I am, goes journeying onward through
A million lives, upon a million spheres.
My work I build, as best I can and may,
Knowing all mortal effort ends in dust.
I build myself, not as I may, but must,
Knowing, or good, or ill, that self must stay.
Along the ages, out, and on, afar,
Its journey leads, and must perforce be made.
Likewise its choice, with things of shame and shade,
Or up the path of light, from star to star.
When all these solar systems shall disperse,
Perchance this labour, and this self-control,
May find reward; and my completed soul
Will fling in space, a little universe.