COVER thy spacious heavens, Zeus, With clouds of mist, And, like the boy who lops The thistles' heads, Disport with oaks and mountain-peaks, Yet thou must leave My earth still standing; My cottage too, which was not raised by thee; Leave me my hearth, Whose kindly glow By thee is envied.
I know nought poorer Under the sun, than ye gods! Ye nourish painfully, With sacrifices And votive prayers, Your majesty: Ye would e'en starve, If children and beggars Were not trusting fools.
While yet a child And ignorant of life, I turned my wandering gaze Up tow'rd the sun, as if with him There were an ear to hear my wailings, A heart, like mine, To feel compassion for distress.
Who help'd me Against the Titans' insolence? Who rescued me from certain death, From slavery? Didst thou not do all this thyself, My sacred glowing heart? And glowedst, young and good, Deceived with grateful thanks To yonder slumbering one?
I honour thee! and why? Hast thou e'er lighten'd the sorrows Of the heavy laden? Hast thou e'er dried up the tears Of the anguish-stricken? Was I not fashion'd to be a man By omnipotent Time, And by eternal Fate, Masters of me and thee?
Didst thou e'er fancy That life I should learn to hate, And fly to deserts, Because not all My blossoming dreams grew ripe?
Here sit I, forming mortals After my image; A race resembling me, To suffer, to weep, To enjoy, to be glad, And thee to scorn, As I!