Why honour gods, who must submit to Fate,
Or Fate, who gives but what our deeds have won?
Upon our deeds alone depends our state
By these exalted, as by these undone.
Mighty are works, which Brahmâ's self confined within the egg,
Which forced e'en Siva, skull in hand, from house to house to beg,
Made Vishnu through ten tedious births his deity disguise,
Which daily bind th' unwilling sun to wander through the skies!
Our merits in a former life
Preserve us in the midst of foes,
In woods, flood, fire, in peace and strife,
On ocean waves, and mountain snows.
Kindness can turn the bad man's heart, and fools convert to wise,
Make poison into nectar-juice, and friends of enemies,
Bring distant objects near: then strive to talisman gain,
Nor set thy heart on glorious gifts acquired with endless pain.
Before he act, the man of sense
Looks forward to the consequence,
For heedless acts infix a dart,
That rankles in the tortured heart.
In emerald vessels tallow boil,
And light the fire with spice,
With golden ploughs turn up the soil
And then sow worthless rice,
Thus wiser far than if thou spend
An easy life on earth;
Since all things must on works depend,
Why throw away thy birth?
What though we climb to Meru's peak, soar bird-like through the sky,
Grow rich by trade, or till the ground, or art and science ply,
Or vanquish all our earthly foes, we yield to Fate's decree,
Whate'er she nills can ne'er take place, whate'er she wills must be.
Whoe'er of merit hath a plenteous store,
Will savage woods a glorious city find,
With gold and gems abounding every shore,
All regions blissful and all people kind.