Wherefore Should Man Frail Child Of Clay

Wherefore should man, frail child of clay,
Who, from the cradle to the shroud,
Lives but the insect of a day,–
Oh why should mortal man be proud?

His brightest visions just appear,
Then vanish, and no more are found:
The stateliest pile his pride can rear,
A breath may level with the ground.

By doubts perplexed, in error lost,
With trembling step he seeks his way:
How vain of wisdom’s gift the boast!
Of reason’s lamp how faint the ray!

Follies and crimes, a countless sum,
Are crowded in life’s little span:
How ill, alas! does pride become
That erring, guilty creature, man!

God of my life! Father divine!
Give me a meek and lowly mind:
In modest worth oh let me shine,
And peace in humble virtue find.