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Duty's Path

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

But from the harbour of youth's bay
There leads the path of pleasure;
With eager steps we walk that way
To brim joy's largest measure.
But when with morn's departing beam
Goes youth's last precious minute,
We sigh "'Twas but a fevered dream―
There's nothing in it."

Then on our vision dawns afar
The goal of glory, gleaming
Like some great radiant solar star,
And sets us longing, dreaming.
Forgetting all things left behind,
We strain each nerve to win it,
But when 'tis ours―alas! we find
There's nothing in it.

We turn our sad, reluctant gaze
Upon the path of duty;
Its barren, uninviting ways
Are void of bloom and beauty.
Yet in that road, though dark and cold
It seems as we begin it,
As we press on―lo! we behold
There's Heaven in it.