The Image of Fate
Happy the maimed, the halt, the mad, the blind ï¿½
All who, stamped separate by curtailing birth,
Owe no duty's allegiance to mankind
Nor stand a valuing in their scheme of worth!
But I, whom Fate, not Nature, did curtail,
By no exterior voidness being exempt,
Must bear accusing glances where I fail,
Fixed in the general orbit of contempt.
Fate, less than Nature in being kind to lacking,
Giving the ill, shows not as outer cause,
Making our mock-free will the mirror's backing
Which Fate's own acts as if in itself shows;
And men, like children, seeing the image there,
Take place for cause and make our will Fate bear.
Fernando Pessoa, in 'English Poetry - 35 sonnets'