I am a Mystery that walks the earth
Since man began to be.
Sorrow and sin stood sponsors at my birth,
And terror christened me.
More pitiless than Death, who gathereth
His victims day by day,
I doom man daily to desire Death,
And still forbear to slay.
More merciless than Time, I leave man youth,
And suck life’s sweetness out.
More cruel than despair, I show man truth,
And leave him strength to doubt.
I bind the freest in my subtle band.
I blanch the boldest cheek.
I hold the hearts of poets in my hand,
And wring them ere they speak.
I walk in darkness over souls that bleed.
I shape each as I go
To something different. I sow the seed
Whence grapes or thistles grow.
No two that dream me dream the self-same face.
No two name me alike.
A horror without form I fill all space.
Across all time I strike.
Look how man cringes to mine unseen rod!
Kings own my sovereignty.
Though seers but prove me as they prove a God,
Yet none denieth me.
I come! I come! Life’s monster Mystery,
I come to bless or damn.
Kneel, kneel, vain soul! Helpless, acknowledge me!
Thou feelest that I am!