The Kite; Or, Pride Must Have A Fall

By John Newton

My waking dreams are best conceal’d,
Much folly, little good, they yield;
But now and then I gain, when sleeping,
A friendly hint that’s worth the keeping.
Lately I dreamt of ope who cried,
“Beware of self, beware of pride;
When you are prone to build a Babel,
Recall to mind this little fable.”
Once on a time a paper kite
Was mounted to a wond’rous height,
Where, giddy with its elevation,
It thus express’d self-admiration;
“See how yon crowds of gazing people
Admire my flight above the steeple;
How would they wonder if they knew
All that a kite like me can do!
Were I but free, I’d take a flight,
And pierce the clouds beyond their sight;
But, ah! like a poor pris’ner bound,
My string confines me near the ground:
I’d brave the eagle’s towering wing,
Might I but fly without a string.”
It tugg’d and pull’d, while thus it spoke,
To break the string:—at last it broke.
Depriv’d at once of all its stay,
In vain it tried to soar away;
Unable its own weight to bear,
It flutter’d downward through the air;
Unable its own course to guide,
The winds soon plung’d it in the tide.
Ah! foolish kite, thou hadst no wing,
How couldst thou fly without a string?
My heart replied, “O Lord, I see
How much this kite resembles me!
Forgetful that by thee I stand,
Impatient of thy ruling hand;
How oft I’ve wish’d to break the lines
Thy wisdom for my lot assigns?
How oft indulg da vain desire,
For something more or something higher?
And, but for grace and love divine,
A fall thus dreadful had been mine.”

This Poem Features In: