William Wordsworth

To Dora

"'A little onward lend thy guiding hand To these dark steps, a little further on!'" --What trick of memory to 'my' voice hath brought This mournful iteration? For though Time, The Conqueror, crowns the Conquered, on this brow Planting his favourite silver diadem, Nor he, nor minister of his--intent To run before him--hath enrolled me yet, Though not unmenaced, among those who lean Upon a living staff, with borrowed sight. --O my own Dora, my beloved child! Should that day come--but hark! the birds salute The cheerful dawn, brightening for me the east; For me, thy natural leader, once again Impatient to conduct thee, not as erst A tottering infant, with compliant stoop From flower to flower supported; but to curb Thy nymph-like step swift-bounding o'er the lawn, Along the loose rocks, or the slippery verge Of foaming torrents.--From thy orisons Come forth; and, while the morning air is yet Transparent as the soul of innocent youth, Let me, thy happy guide, now point thy way, And now precede thee, winding to and fro, Till we by perseverance gain the top Of some smooth ridge, whose brink precipitous Kindles intense desire for powers withheld From this corporeal frame; whereon who stands, Is seized with strong incitement to push forth His arms, as swimmers use, and plunge--dread thought, For pastime plunge--into the "abrupt abyss,"-- Where ravens spread their plumy vans, at ease! And yet more gladly thee would I conduct Through woods and spacious forests,--to behold There, how the Original of human art, Heaven-prompted Nature, measures and erects Her temples, fearless for the stately work, Though waves, to every breeze, its high-arched roof, And storms the pillars rock. But we such schools Of reverential awe will chiefly seek In the still summer noon, while beams of light, Reposing here, and in the aisles beyond Traceably gliding through the dusk, recall To mind the living presences of nuns; A gentle, pensive, white-robed sisterhood, Whose saintly radiance mitigates the gloom Of those terrestrial fabrics, where they serve, To Christ, the Sun of righteousness, espoused. Now also shall the page of classic lore, To these glad eyes from bondage freed, again Lie open; and the book of Holy Writ, Again unfolded, passage clear shall yield To heights more glorious still, and into shades More awful, where, advancing hand in hand, We may be taught, O Darling of my care! To calm the affections, elevate the soul, And consecrate our lives to truth and love.

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