I, a Stranger and Afraid In a World I Never MadeThe Laws of God, The Laws of Manby A. E. Housman (1859-1936)
The laws of God, the laws of man,He may keep that will and can;Not I: let God and man decreeLaws for themselves and not for me;And if my ways are not as theirsLet them mind their own affairs.
Their deeds I judge and much condemn,Yet when did I make laws for them?Please yourselves, say I, and theyNeed only look the other way.But no, they will not; they must stillWrest their neighbor to their will,And make me dance as they desireWith jail and gallows and hell-fire.
And how am I to face the odds Of man’s bedevilment and God’s?  I, a stranger and afraid In a world I never made.
They will be master, right or wrong;Though both are foolish, both are strong.And since, my soul, we cannot fly. To Saturn nor to Mercury, Keep we must, if keep we can,
These foreign laws of God and man.
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