THE BOUNDARIES OF HUMANITY. by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
WHEN the primeval All-holy Father Sows with a tranquil hand From clouds, as they roll, Bliss-spreading lightnings Over the earth, Then do I kiss the last Hem of his garment, While by a childlike awe Fiil'd is my breast.
For with immortals Ne'er may a mortal Measure himself. If he soar upwards And if he touch With his forehead the stars, Nowhere will rest then His insecure feet, And with him sport Tempest and cloud.
Though with firm sinewy Limbs he may stand On the enduring Well-grounded earth, All he is ever Able to do, Is to resemble The oak or the vine.
Wherein do gods Differ from mortals? In that the former See endless billows Heaving before them; Us doth the billow Lift up and swallow, So that we perish.
Small is the ring Enclosing our life, And whole generations Link themselves firmly On to existence's Chain never-ending.