To the Sons of Burns, after visiting the Grave of their Father (IV). William Wordsworth – 1803.


Play an audio version of this poem

'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;
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,
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;

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;
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!

Poet's Corner

Like so many, my first contact with poetry was at school. In my teens I tried my hand at poetry and found that I rather enjoyed it. As a musician, poetry enabled me to write songs - really cool to be a teenager and strumming out your own songs (badly in my case) on the guitar. I decided to build this site alongside a corresponding YouTube channel (Poets' Corner) and include both a narrated version of each poem along with the printed version. Having always loved (and many times visited) The Lake District in northwest England it seemed only right to start with Wiliam Wordsworth and, once I've created a significant body of his work, I'll start working on other poets.

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