Ode to Duty
‘Ode to Duty reveals that Wordsworth has a great concern with moral and ethical values and devotion to duty and integrity. The poet believed that following the path of Duty and Morality, one could rise to noble heights of success in his life. ‘Ode to Duty is a landmark in the history of Wordsworth’s mind.His most significant message to humanity is the message of ‘plain living and high thinking’.Wordsworth takes duty as the divine postulate of the universe. Heavenly bodies like the sun and the earth maintain the system and decorum which give freshness and strength to ‘the most ancient Heavens’ (Ode to Duty 36). Wordsworth emphasises that man should learn a lesson from the natural objects and observing the dutiful scheme of the universe, he imparts a message of duteous life to the whole mankind. This altruistic feeling of self-sacrifice for the happiness of others uplifts man to the grand scheme of the universe as he contemplates the value system of the natural objects like the sun and the earth. The natural objects are dumb and speechless but even they educate man more effectively than the human teachers.
Summary of Ode To Duty
The Ode to Duty is one of the finest Odes in the English language. Gray’s Hymn to Adversity inspired it and bears close resemblance to it. The poet calls Duty to stern daughter of god. By following the call of Duty, a man can gain victory over evil and temptation. It is duty which can guide man along the right path and bring peace to frail humanity.
There are people who instinctively follow the path of duty. But they feel that they are being guided by their own natural sense of love and truth. Such people are lucky.
Human life can be serene and happy only when the call of Duty is obeyed. Those who follow the path of Duty, feel happy and secure against Evil.
There was a time when poet did not care for the call of Duty. He loved freedom and lived in his own way. But now he is determined to serve Duty more strictly.
He now prays to Duty to guide him. He is tired of uncontrolled or unbridled freedom. He now longs for peace of mind which is possible only through obedience to the law of Duty.
Duty may appear to us harsh, but in reality she is as gracious and kind as God Himself. Duty is the law of Nature, and all objects of Nature move in their particular spheres according to this law.
The Poet entrusts himself to the guidance of Duty. He prays to Duty to bless him with the spirit of self-sacrifice and make him reasonable and wise.