He whom I enclose with my name is weeping in this dungeon. I am ever busy building
this wall all around; and as this wall goes up into the sky day by day I lose sight of my
true being in its dark shadow.
I take pride in this great wall, and I plaster it with dust and sand lest a least hole
should be left in this name; and for all the care I take I lose sight of my true being.
I came out alone on my way to my tryst. But who is this that follows me in the silent
I move aside to avoid his presence but I escape him not.
He makes the dust rise from the earth with his swagger; he adds his loud voice to
every word that I utter.
He is my own little self, my lord, he knows no shame; but I am ashamed to come to
thy door in his company.
'Prisoner, tell me, who was it that bound you?'
'It was my master,' said the prisoner. 'I thought I could outdo everybody in the world
in wealth and power, and I amassed in my own treasure-house the money due to my
king. When sleep overcame me I lay upon the bad that was for my lord, and on waking
up I found I was a prisoner in my own treasure-house.'
'Prisoner, tell me, who was it that wrought this unbreakable chain?'
'It was I,' said the prisoner, 'who forged this chain very carefully. I thought my
invincible power would hold the world captive leaving me in a freedom undisturbed.
Thus night and day I worked at the chain with huge fires and cruel hard strokes. When
at last the work was done and the links were complete and unbreakable, I found that it
held me in its grip.'
By all means they try to hold me secure who love me in this world. But it is otherwise
with thy love which is greater than theirs, and thou keepest me free.
Lest I forget them they never venture to leave me alone. But day passes by after day
and thou art not seen.
If I call not thee in my prayers, if I keep not thee in my heart, thy love for me still
waits for my love.