"Now, there are many millions who in their
sects and churches who feel the order, 'Do thou,' and throw their weight
into obedience. And there are millions more who feel predestination
in 'Thou shalt.' Nothing they may do can interfere with
what will be. But 'Thou mayest'! Why, that makes a man
great, that gives him stature with the gods, for in his weakness and
his filth and his murder of his brother he has still the great choice.
He can choose his course and fight it through and win... And I feel
I am a man. And I feel that a man is a very important thing - maybe
more important than a star. This is not theology. I have no bent towards
the gods. But I have a new love for that glittering instrument, the
human soul. It is a lovely and unique thing in the universe. It is
always attacked and never destroyed - because 'Thou mayest.'"...
..."It was your two-word translation, Lee
- 'Thou mayest.' It took me by the throat and shook me.
And when the dizziness was over, a path was open, new and bright. And
when my life which is ending seems to be going on to an ending wonderful.
And my music has a last melody like a bird song in the night.
Lee was peering at him through the darkness.
"'Thou mayest rule over sin," Lee
said. That's it. I do not believe all men are destroyed. I can name
you a dozen who were not, and they are the ones the world lives by.
It is true of the spirit as it is true of the battles - only the winners
are remembered. Surely most men are destroyed, but there are others
who like pillars of fire guide frightened men through the darkness. 'Thou
mayest, Thou mayest!' What glory! It is true that we are weak
and sick and quarrelsome, but if that is all we ever were, we would,
millenniums ago, have disappeared from the face of the earth. A few
remnants of fossilized jawbone, some broken teeth in strats of limestone,
would be the only mark man would have left of his existence in the
world. But the choice, Lee, the choice of winning! I had never understood
it or accepted it before. 'Thou mayest rule over sin.'"