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Stern Daughter of the Voice of God !
Oh Duty ! if that name thou love,
Who art a light to guide, a rod
To check the erring, and reprove ;
Thou, who art victory and law,
When empty terrors overawe,
From vain temptations dost set free,
And calm'st the weary strife of frail humanity.
There are who ask not if thine eye
Be on them ; who in love and truth
Where no misgiving is, rely
Upon the genial sense of youth ;
Glad hearts without reproach or blot
Who do thy work and know it not :
Oh if through confidence misplaced
They fail, thy saving arms, dread Power,
around them cast !
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.