Ambition's finger beckoned and I ran
With bleeding feet o'er rugged paths and drear,
Spurning the inward whispers, soft and clear,
Which said: "In vain! Thy life is but a span;
The grave shall cover all." Still, in the van
Of human action, I thought soon to rear
Some mighty monument to vanquished fear,
--A shaft to mark the triumph of a Man.
Poor fool! My gold was lost amid the dross;
Hope died within me, and, as one who mourns,
I bowed before a bitter sense of loss,
Clinging despairing to the altar's horns,
And raised my eyes to where, upon the cross,
In sad reproval, hung a crown of thorns.