Great poetry of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Blog,  English,  Poetry

To Dora by William Wordsworth

“‘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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