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Ode To Duty.

Stern Daughter of the Voice of God!

O Duty! if that name thou love

Who art a light to guide, a rod

To check the erring, and reprove;

Thou, who art victory and law

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,
Where no misgiving is, rely
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
them cast.

Serene will be our days and bright,

And happy will our nature be,

When love is an unerring light,

And joy its own security.

And they a blissful course may hold

Even now, who, not unwisely bold,

Live in the spirit of this creed;

Yet seek thy firm support, according to their need.

I, loving freedom, and untried;

No sport of every random gust,

Yet being to myself a guide,

Too blindly have reposed my trust:

And oft, when in my heart was heard

Thy timely mandate, I deferred

The task, in smoother walks to stray;

But thee I now would serve more strictly if I may. Through no disturbance of my soul,

Or strong compunction in me wrought,

I supplicate for thy control;

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,

I long for a repose that ever is the same.

Stern Lawgiver! yet thou dost wear
The Godhead's most benignant grace;
Nor know we any thing so fair
As is the smile upon thy face:
Flowers laugh before thee on their beds
And fragrance in thy footing treads;
Thou dost preserve the stars from wrong;
And the most ancient heavens, through Thee, are fresh
and strong.

To humbler functions, awful Power!

I call thee: I myself commend

Unto thy guidance from this hour;

Oh, let my weakness have an end!

Give unto me, made lowly wise,

The spirit of self-sacrifice;

The confidence of reason give;

And in the light of truth thy Bondman let me live!

(1805.)

The Nightingale.

O Nightingale! thou surely art

A creature of a 'fiery heart':—

These notes of thine—they pierce and pierce;

Tumultuous harmony and fierce!

Thou sing'st as if the God of wine

Had helped thee to a Valentine;

A song in mockery and despite

Of shades, and dews, and silent night;

And steady bliss, and all the loves

Now sleeping in these peaceful groves.

I heard a Stock-dove sing or say

His homely tale, this very day;

His voice was buried among trees,

Yet to be come-at by the breeze:

He did not cease; but cooed—and cooed;

And somewhat pensively he wooed:

He sang of love, with quiet blending,

Slow to begin, and never ending;

Of serious faith, and inward glee;

That was the song—the song for me!

(1806.)

The Mountain Echo.

Yes, it was the mountain Echo,
Solitary, clear, profound,
Answering to the shouting Cuckoo,
Giving to her sound for sound!

Unsolicited reply
To a babbling wanderer sent;
Like her ordinary cry,
Like—but oh, how different!

Hears not also mortal Life?
Hear not we, unthinking Creatures!
Slaves of folly, love, or strife—
Voices of two different natures?

Have not we too ?—yes, we have
Answers, and we know not whence;
Echoes from beyond the grave,
Recognised intelligence!

Such rebounds our inward ear
Catches sometimes from afar—
Listen, ponder, hold them dear;
For of God,—of God they are.

(1806.)

ODE.

Intimations Of Immortality From Recollections Of
Early Childhood.

The Child is father of the Man;
And I could wish ray days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.

i.

There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Apparelled in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
It is not now as it hath been of yore ;—
Turn wheresoe'er I may,
By night or day,
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.

2.

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.

3

Now, while the birds thus sing a joyous song,
And while the young lambs bound

As to the tabor's sound,
To me alone there came a thought of grief:
A timely utterance gave that thought relief,

And I again am strong:

The cataracts blow their trumpets from the steep;
No more shall grief of mine the season wrong;
I hear the Echoes through the mountains throng,
The Winds come to me from the fields of sleep,
And all the earth is gay;
Land and Sea
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!

4

Ye blessed Creatures, I have heard the call

Ye to each other make; I see
The heavens laugh with you in your jubilee;
My heart is at your festival,
My head hath its coronal,
The fulness of your bliss, I feel—I feel it all.
Oh evil day! if I were sullen
While Earth herself is adorning,

This sweet May-morning,
And the Children are culling

On every side,
In a thousand valleys far and wide,
Fresh flowers; while the sun shines warm,
And the Babe leaps up on his Mother's arm :—
I hear, I hear, with joy I hear!
—But there's a Tree, of many, one,
A single Field which I have looked upon,
Both of them speak of something that is gone:
The Pansy at my feet
Doth the same tale repeat:
Whither is fled the visionary gleam?
Where is it now, the glory and the dream?

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