“Man is the measure of all things.”—Protagoras.
I am the mirror wherein man sees man,
Whenever he looks deep into my eyes
And looks for me alone, he there descries
The human plan.
I am the mirror of man’s venturing mind,
And in my face alone he yet may read
The only reason for the every need
I am the mirror of man’s eager heart,
Within me lies the secret of his quest:
I hear the hidden part that is the rest
Of every part.
I am the mirror of man’s weary flesh,
From my deep eyes looks back the valiant soul
Endlessly thriving on the endless dole
Of man’s distress.
I am a mirror to the young and old.
The young see in me all their dear desire,
The old find in my ardor their lost fire
Now growing cold.
All things in turn glide o’er my mirror face.
Man looks—and sees the poor forgotten dead—
Looks: And remembers, with a sudden dread,
The old lost grace.
Eyes that are pure find purity in me,
Lips that are gross seek grossness like to theirs,
Freely gives back the mirror all it bears—
Free to the free.