The Ascent of Man

He stood upon the earth, and turned
To gaze on sky and land and sea,
While in his ear the whisper burned,
“Behold, these all belong to thee!”

O wondrous call to conquests new!
O thrill of blood! O joy of Soul!
O peaks with ever-widening view!
O race, with still-receding goal!

He heard; he followed, evermore
Stumbling and falling, wandering far,
Yet still advancing, while before
His footsteps shone the guiding star.

He cleft the seas; the torrent loud
He harnessed to his need or whim;
He bade the lightning of the cloud
Run with his words, and toil for him.

He pierced the rock; he scaled the steep;
Destroyed; created; brought to light
The secrets of the deepest deep,
The glories of the highest height!

The future and the past he scanned;
With sense refined and vision keen,
Explored, beyond this lower land,
The treasures of a realm unseen.

Until he stood with regal brow,—
No more, as on the primal sod,
A creature yet ungrown, but now
Lord of two worlds, and child of God!