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Time has stored all, but keeps his chronicle
In secret, beyond all our probe or gauge.
There flows the human story, vast and full;
And here a muddy trickle smears the page.

The things our hearts remember make a sound
So faint; so loud the menace and applause.
The gleaners come, with eyes upon the ground
After Oblivion's harvest, picking straws.

What is man, if this only has told his tale,
For whom ruin and blunder mark the years,
Whom continent--shadowing conquerors regale
To surfeiting, with glory of blood and tears?

He flaunts his folly and woe in a proud dress:
But writes no history of his happiness.

© Robert Laurence Binyon