How little curious is man
How little curious is man,
Who hath not searched his mystery a span,
But dreams of mines of treasure
Which he neglects to measure,
For threescore years and ten
Walks to and fro amid his fellow men
O'er this small tract of continental land,
His fancy bearing no divining wand.
Our uninquiring corpses lie more low
Than our life's curiosity doth go;
Our most ambitious steps climb not so high
As in their hourly sport the sparrows fly.
Yonder cloud's blown farther in a day
Than our most vagrant feet may ever stray.
Surely, O Lord, he hath not greatly erred
Who hath so little from his birthplace stirred.
He wanders through this low and shallow world,
Scarcely his bolder thoughts and hopes unfurled,
Through this low wallèd world, which his huge sin
Hath hardly room to rest and harbor in.
Bearing his head just o'er some fallow ground,
Some cowslip'd meadows where the bitterns sound,
He wanders round until his end draws nigh,
And then lays down his aged head to die.
And this is life! this is that famous strife!
His head doth court a fathom from the land,
Six feet from where his grovelling feet do stand.