To lay the soul that loves him low,
Becomes the Only–wise:
To hide beneath a veil of woe,
The children of the skies.
Man, though a worm, would yet be great;
Though feeble, would seem strong;
Assumes an independent state,
By sacrilege and wrong.
Strange the reverse, which, once abased,
The haughty creature proves!
He feels his soul a barren waste,
Nor dares affirm he loves.
Scorned by the thoughtless and the vain,
To God he presses near;
Superior to the world's disdain,
And happy in its sneer.
Oh welcome, in his heart he says,
Humility and shame!
Farewell the wish for human praise,
The music of a name!
But will not scandal mar the good
That I might else perform?
And can God work it, if he would,
By so despised a worm?
Ah, vainly anxious!—leave the Lord
To rule thee, and dispose;
Sweet is the mandate of his word,
And gracious all he does.
He draws from human littleness
His grandeur and renown;
And generous hearts with joy confess
The triumph all his own.
Down, then, with self–exalting thoughts;
Thy faith and hope employ,
To welcome all that he allots,
And suffer shame with joy.
No longer, then, thou wilt encroach
On his eternal right;
And he shall smile at thy approach,
And make thee his delight.
Translations from the French of Madame de la Mothe Guion