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I am your prisoner, old mother earth,
A prisoner glad to stay;
For the only gate from your prison forth
Is shrouded in mystery.


Could I climb the steeps of the golden stars,
I would break your chains tonight;
Or, could I ascend the sunset bars,
Thy prisoner would take her flight.


But no ladder leans to the sunset skies,
And no stairs to the "milky way";
I have no wings like the bird to rise,
So a prisoner still I stay.


I prisoner chained to this little ball,
With no power to rise beyond;
A prisoner shut in from the flaming wall,
That the universe spreads around.


I know there are regions unexplored,
In boundless immensity,
Beyond where human thought has soared
Or human eye can see.


But there's only one gate, old mother earth,
That each must pass alone;
One dark, dark road that leadeth forth
To the great, the wide unknown.


Does a ladder up from its gloom ascend,
More bright than the sunset bars?
This end is clouded, the other end
Is planted beyond the stars.


I shall stand sometime by that lonely gate,
And it solemn silence know;
I shall grope in the valley dark, and wait
'Till the message comes to go.


I shall pass its portals and journey forth,
To fathom its mystery;
I shall break your fetters, old mother earth,
And your prisoner shall be free.