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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
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 necd.
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
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!
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!
Yes, it was the mountain Echo,
Solitary, clear, profound,
Answering to the shouting Cuckoo,
Giving to her sound for sound !
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.
INTIMATIONS OF IMMORTALITY FROM RECOLLECTIONS OF
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,
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.
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
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?