O tyrant soul of mine, What's the useOf this never-ceasing toil,Of this struggle, this turmoil, This abuseOf the body and the brain,Of this labor and this pain,Of this never-ceasing strainOn the cords that bind us twain Each to each?
O tyrant soul of mine, Is it wellThus to waste and wear awayThe poor, fragile walls of clay Where you dwell?Was I made your slave to be--I the abject, you the free,That you task me ceaselessly?--Tyrant soul, come, answer me, Is it well?
O tyrant soul of mine, Don't you knowThat in slow, but sure decay,I am wasting day by day, While you growNone the better for the strainOn my nerves and on my brain,For my head's incessant pain,And my sick heart's longings vain For repose?
O tyrant soul of mine, God, the good,Joined together you and meIn a wondrous unity, That we shouldWork together,--not that I,You degrade and stupefy,Nor that you His laws defyBy maltreating ceaselessly Hapless me!
O tyrant soul of mine, By and by,Weary of your cruel reign,Quite worn out with toil and pain, I shall die!Then, when I have passed away,And you're asked whose hand did slayYour companion of the clay,Much I wonder what you'll say, Soul of mine!