Fourteen sonnets and poems/Individuality

Man is his own star; and the soul that can
Render an honest and a perfect man,
Commands all light, all influence, all fate,
Nothing to him falls early or too late.

Beaumont and Fletcher.


SINCE "all our knowledge is ourselves to know,"
    My highest use to others and to me
    Are my own thoughts that come of what I see,
Reflecting back and causing there to grow
Kindred in soil, in germ exotic though
    Distinct ideas, of self-determined force
    Gaging the weight and worth of my discourse,
And all of good that's in me to bestow.
Shall I renounce this inborn test of self?
    Forsake my own, to follow others' lead?
Be ranked a party hack, be duped by pelf,
    Or cramped in harness of some sect or creed?
Nay, let me live the least of all mankind,
Else in my speech, myself expression find.