Verse > William Wordsworth > Complete Poetical Works
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MEMORIALS OF A TOUR IN SCOTLAND, 1803

IV. TO THE SONS OF BURNS

AFTER VISITING THE GRAVE OF THEIR FATHER

          'MID crowded obelisks and urns
          I sought the untimely grave of Burns;
          Sons of the Bard, my heart still mourns
                With sorrow true;
          And more would grieve, but that it turns
                Trembling to you!

          Through twilight shades of good and ill
          Ye now are panting up life's hill,
          And more than common strength and skill
                Must ye display;                                      10
          If ye would give the better will
                Its lawful sway.

          Hath Nature strung your nerves to bear
          Intemperance with less harm, beware!
          But if the Poet's wit ye share,
                Like him can speed
          The social hour--of tenfold care
                There will be need;

          For honest men delight will take
          To spare your failings for his sake,                        20
          Will flatter you,--and fool and rake
                Your steps pursue;
          And of your Father's name will make
                A snare for you.

          Far from their noisy haunts retire,
          And add your voices to the quire
          That sanctify the cottage fire
                With service meet;
          There seek the genius of your Sire,
                His spirit greet;                                     30

          Or where, 'mid "lonely heights and hows,"
          He paid to Nature tuneful vows;
          Or wiped his honourable brows
                Bedewed with toil,
          While reapers strove, or busy ploughs
                Upturned the soil;

          His judgment with benignant ray
          Shall guide, his fancy cheer, your way;
          But ne'er to a seductive lay
                Let faith be given;                                   40
          Nor deem that "light which leads astray,
                Is light from Heaven."

          Let no mean hope your souls enslave;
          Be independent, generous, brave;
          Your Father such example gave,
                And such revere;
          But be admonished by his grave,
                And think, and fear!


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