When the world was first created
By th' all-wise Eternal One,
Asked he none for help or counsel,--
Simply spake, and it was done!
Made it for his own good pleasure,
Shaped it on his own design,
Spent a long day's work upon it,
Formed it fair and very fine.
Soon he thought on man's creation,--
Then perplexities arose,
So the Lord His winged Senate
Called, the question to propose:
Hear, my great ones, why I called ye,
Hear and help me ye who can,
Hear and tell me how I further
Shall proceed in making man.
Ponder well before ye answer,
And consider, children dear;--
In our image I would make him,
Free from stain, from blemish clear.
Of my holy fire I'd give him,
Crowned monarch shall he be,
Ruling with a sway unquestioned
Over earth and air and sea.
Birds across the blue sky winging
Swift shall fly before his face,--
Silver fishes in the ocean,
Savage lion in the chase.
--How? This toy of froth and vapor,
Thought the Senate, filled with fear,
If so wide his kingdom stretches,
Shortly he will break in here!
So the Lord they answered, saying:--
Mind and strength Thy creature give,
Form him in our very image,
Lord, but wingless let him live!
Lest he shame the soaring eagle
Let no wings to man be giv'n,
Bid him o'er the earth be ruler,
Lord, but keep him out of heav'n!
Wisely said, the Lord made answer,
Lo, your counsel fair I take!
Yet, my Senate, one exception--
One alone, I will to make.
One exception! for the poet,
For the singer, shall have wings;
He the gates of Heav'n shall enter,
Highest of created things.
One I single from among ye,
One to watch the ages long,
Promptly to admit the poet
When he hears his holy song.