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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,
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:
Long may the kindly impulse last!
But Thou, if they should totter, teach them to
Serene will be our days and bright,
And happy will our nature be,
And they a blissful course may hold
Even now, who, not unwisely bold,
Live in the spirit of this creed;
Yet find that other strength, according to their need.
I, loving freedom, and untried;
Too blindly have reposed my trust:
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,
But in the quietness of thought:
I feel the weight of chance-desires :
Stern Lawgiver! yet thou dost wear
As is the smile upon thy face:
Flowers laugh before thee on their beds;
And the most ancient Heavens, through Thee, are
fresh and strong.
To humbler functions, awful Power!
The confidence of reason give;
And in the light of truth thy Bondman let me live!