The moving finger writes, and having writ
Moves on; nor all thy piety nor wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a line,
Nor all thy tears wash out a word of it.
We are no other than a moving row
Of magic Shadow-shapes that come and go
Round with the Sun-illumined lantern held
In the midnight by the Master of the show.
’Tis all a checquer-board of nights and days
Where destiny, with men for pieces, plays,
Hither and thither moves, and checks, and slays,
And one by one back in the closet lays.
The ball no question makes of Ayes and Noes,
But here and there as strikes the player goes;
And He that tossed you down into the field—
He knows about it all—He knows—He knows!