Verses eight through thirteen give us mortals a jarring reminder of our insignificance in the bigger picture, especially if we persist in going our own way:
- Like a ship traversing the heaving water,
- of which, when it has passed,
- no trace can be found,
- no path of its keel in the waves.
- Or like a bird flying through the air;
- no evidence of its course is to be found-
- But the fluid air,
- lashed by the beat of pinions,
- and cleft by the rushing force
- Of speeding wings, is traversed:
- and afterward no mark of passage can be found in it.
- Or as, when an arrow has been shot at a mark,
- the parted air straightway flows together again
- so that none discerns the way it went through-
- Even so we, once born,
- abruptly came to nought
- and held no sign of virtue to display,
but were consumed in our wickedness.