Man's Dignity. I am a man! Let every one
Who is a man, too, spring
With joy beneath God's shining sun,
And leap on high, and sing!

To God's own image fair on earth
Its stamp I've power to show;
Down to the front, where heaven has birth
With boldness I dare go.

'Tis well that I both dare and can!
When I a maiden see,
A voice exclaims: thou art a man!
I kiss her tenderly.

And redder then the maiden grows,
Her bodice seems too tight
That I'm a man the maiden knows,
Her bodice therefore's tight.

Will she, perchance, for pity cry,
If unawares she's caught?
She finds that I'm a man then, why
By her is pity sought?

I am a man; and if alone
She sees me drawing near,
I make the emperor's daughter run,
Though ragged I appear.

This golden watchword wins the smile
Of many a princess fair;
They call ye'd best look out the while,
Ye gold-laced fellows there!

That I'm a man is fully shown
Whene'er my lyre I sweep;
It thunders out a glorious tone
It otherwise would creep.

The spirit that my veins now hold,
My manhood calls its brother!
And both command, like lions bold,
And fondly greet each other.

From out this same creative flood
From which we men have birth,
Both godlike strength and genius bud,
And everything of worth.

My talisman all tyrants hates,
And strikes them to the ground;
Or guides us gladly through life's gates
To where the dead are found.

E'en Pompey, at Pharsalia's fight,
My talisman o'erthrew;
On German sand it hurled with might
Rome's sensual children, too.

Didst see the Roman, proud and stern,
Sitting on Afric's shore?
His eyes like Hecla seem to burn,
And fiery flames outpour.

Then comes a frank and merry knave,
And spreads it through the land:
"Tell them that thou on Carthage's grave
Hast seen great Marius stand!"

Thus speaks the son of Rome with pride,
Still mighty in his fall;
He is a man, and naught beside,
Before him tremble all.

His grandsons afterwards began
Their portions to o'erthrow,
And thought it well that every man
Should learn with grace to crow.

For shame, for shame, once more for shame!
The wretched ones? they've even
Squandered the tokens of their fame,
The choicest gifts of heaven.

God's counterfeit has sinfully
Disgraced his form divine,
And in his vile humanity
Has wallowed like the swine.

The face of earth each vainly treads,
Like gourds, that boys in sport
Have hollowed out to human heads,
With skulls, whose brains are naught.

Like wine that by a chemist's art
Is through retorts refined,
Their spirits to the deuce depart,
The phlegma's left behind.

From every woman's face they fly,
Its very aspect dread,
And if they dared and could not why,
'Twere better they were dead.

They shun all worthies when they can,
Grief at their joy they prove
The man who cannot make a man,
A man can never love!

The world I proudly wander o'er,
And plume myself and sing
I am a man! Whoe'er is more?
Then leap on high, and spring!

Man's Dignity. by Friedrich Schiller