(from Critical and Miscellaneous Essays, Volume I: 1838)
What is Hope? A smiling rainbow
Children follow through the wet;
’Tis not here, still yonder, yonder:
Never urchin found it yet.
What is Life? A thawing iceboard
On a sea with sunny shore;—
Gay we sail; it melts beneath us;
We are sunk, and seen no more.
What is Man? A foolish baby,
Vainly strives, and fights, and frets;
Demanding all, deserving nothing;—
One small grave is what he gets.
Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881)
Scottish philosopher, satirical writer, essayist, historian and teacher