Imágenes de páginas


Thy timely mandate, I deferred
The task, in smoother walks to day;
But thee I now would serve more strictly, if I



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 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 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; 55 The confidence of reason give; And in the light of truth thy bondman let me live!


QUESTIONS FOR STUDY This poem is addressed to Duty as the chief reliance and comfort of mankind.

Give all the names by which the poet addresses Duty. What does the poet say are the characteristics of duty ? (Lines 3–7.) What does he pray

for in lines 15, 16 ?

Explain the relation of Duty to Freedom as suggested in the fourth and fifth stanza.

Explain the contrast in the sixth stanza.
Point out the figures of speech in lines 45–49.
Which do you think the best?


She was a phantom of delight
When first she gleamed upon my sight;
A lovely apparition, sent
To be a moment's ornament;
Her eyes as stars of twilight fair;
Like twilight's, too, her dusky hair;

1 Phantom, spirit.


But all things else about her drawn
From Maytime and the cheerful dawn;
A dancing shape, an image gay,
To haunt, to startle, and waylay.



I saw her upon nearer view,
A spirit, yet a woman too!
Her household motions light and free,
And steps of virgin liberty;
A countenance in which did meet
Sweet records, promises as sweet;
A creature not too bright or good
For human nature's daily food;
For transient sorrows, simple wiles,
Praise, blame, love, kisses, tears, and smiles.



And now I see with eye serene
The very pulse of the machine;
A being breathing thoughtful breath,
A traveler between life and death;
The reason firm, the temperate will,
Endurance, foresight, strength, and skill;
A perfect woman, nobly planned,
To warn, to comfort, and command;
And yet a spirit still, and bright
With something of angelic light.



Explain all the figures of speech in the first stanza.

In the second stanza what is the meaning of “Sweet records, promises as sweet?

"? Do you know a woman such as the poet has in mind ?

Memorize the couplet that you choose.



John Ruskin was the greatest of English art critics. He was a devoted lover of the beautiful and was able to discern it even where others sometimes failed. He was also a great lover of his fellow men and devoted much of his life to endeavors to educate the laboring class of England to higher and better living. He was born in London in 1819. His father was a wealthy merchant and was able to give the boy every advantage. He was graduated from Oxford University in 1836, and almost immediately began writing on Art. Many of his essays are likely to live in literature and to be more admired as time passes.


[ocr errors]

Mr. Ruskin did much to stimulate the workingmen of England to think. He realized that many social and industrial troubles are due to poor methods and habits



of thought, and that the first step toward their solution is in cultivating the power to think clearly. The question here discussed, of what industry really is, and what idleness, and what play, is one of the many considered by him in his talks to workingmen.

There are idle poor and idle rich; and there are busy poor and busy rich. Many a beggar is as lazy as if he had ten thousand a year; and many a man of large fortune is busier than his errand boy, and never would think of stopping in the street to play 5

« AnteriorContinuar »