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ODE TO DUTY.
Stern Daughter of the Voice of God!
When empty terrors overawe;
From vain temptations dost set free;
And calm'st the weary strife of frail humanity!
There are who ask not if thine eye
Be on them; who, in love and truth,
Upon the genial sense of youth:
Glad Hearts! without reproach or blot;
Who do thy work, and know it not:
Oh! if through confidence misplaced
They fail, thy saving arms, dread Power! around
Serene will be our days and bright,
And happy will our nature be,
When love is an unerring light,
And they a blissful course may hold
Yet seek thy firm support, according to their need.
I, loving freedom, and untried;
The task, in smoother walks to stray;
But thee I now would serve more strictly if I may.
Through no disturbance of my soul,
But in the quietness of thought :
Me this unchartered freedom tires;
I feel the weight of chance-desires :
My hopes no more must change their name,
Stern Lawgiver! yet thou dost wear
Flowers laugh before thee on their beds
Thou dost preserve the stars from wrong;
And the most ancient heavens, through Thee, are fresh
To humbler functions, awful Power!
And in the light of truth thy Bondman let me live!
O Nightingale! thou surely art
These notes of thine-they pierce and pierce ;
Thou sing'st as if the God of wine
Had helped thee to a Valentine ;
I heard a Stock-dove sing or say
INTIMATIONS OF IMMORTALITY FROM RECOLLECTIONS OF EARLY CHILDHOOD.
The Child is father of the Man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.
There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
To me did seem
Apparelled in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
By night or day,
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.
The Rainbow comes and goes,
And lovely is the Rose,
The Moon doth with delight
Look round her when the heavens are bare,
Waters on a starry night
Are beautiful and fair;
The sunshine is a glorious birth;
But yet I know, where'er I go,
That there hath past away a glory from the earth.
Now, while the birds thus sing a joyous song,
As to the tabor's sound,
To me alone there came a thought of grief:
The cataracts blow their trumpets from the steep;
Give themselves up to jollity,
And with the heart of May
Doth every Beast keep holiday ;—
Thou Child of Joy,
Shout round me, let me hear thy shouts, thou happy Shepherd-boy!
Ye blessed Creatures, I have heard the call
The heavens laugh with you in your jubilee;
My head hath its coronal,
The fulness of your bliss, I feel-I feel it all.
And the Children are culling
On every side,
In a thousand valleys far and wide,
And the Babe leaps up on his Mother's arm :-
A single Field which I have looked upon,
Doth the same tale repeat:
Whither is fled the visionary gleam?
Where is it now, the glory and the dream?