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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 which ever is the same.,
Stern law-giver ! yet thou dost wear
The Godhead's most benignant grace ;
Nor know we anything 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
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 !
FROM THE ITALIAN OF MICHAEL ANGELO.
Yes ! hope may thy strong desire keep pace,
And I be undeluded, unbetrayed :
For if of our affections none find grace
In sight of Heaven, then wherefore hath God made
The world which we inhabit ? Better plea
Love cannot have, than that in loving thee
Glory to that eternal peace is paid,
Who such divinity to thee imparts
As hallows and makes pure all gentle hearts.
His hope is treacherous only whose love dies
With beauty, which is varying every hour :
Of outward change, there blooms a deathless flower,
That breathes on earth the air of paradise.
The prayers I make will then be sweet indeed,
If thou the spirit give by which I pray :
My unassisted heart is barren clay,
Which of its native self can nothing feed :
Of good and pious works Thou art the seed,
Which quickens only where Thou sayest it may,
Unless Thou shew to us Thine own true way,
No man can find it : Father! Thou must lead.
Do Thou, then, breathe those thoughts into my mind
By which such virtue may in me be bred
That in Thy holy footsteps I may tread ;
The fetters of my tongue do Thou unbind,
That I may have the power to sing of Thee,
And sound Thy praises everlastingly.
O MOUNTAIN stream ! the shepherd and his cot
Are privileged inmates of deep solitude :
Nor would the nicest anchorite exclude
A field or two of brighter green, or plot
Of tillage-ground that seemeth like a spot
Of stationary sunshine : thou hast viewed
These only, Duddon ! with their paths renewed
By fits and starts, yet this contents thee not.
Thee hath some awful spirit impelled to leave,
Utterly to desert, the haunts of men,
Though simple thy companions were, and few;
And through this wilderness a passage cleave,
Attended but by thy own voice, save when
The clouds and fowls of the air thy way pursue.