Verse > Anthologies > Higginson and Bigelow, eds. > American Sonnets
Higginson and Bigelow, comps.  American Sonnets.  1891.
Sonnet to Duty
By Thomas Wentworth Higginson (1823–1911)
LIGHT of dim mornings; shield from heat and cold;
  Balm for all ailments; substitute for praise;
  Comrade of those who plod in lonely ways
  (Ways that grow lonelier as the years wax old);
Tonic for fears; check to the overbold;        5
  Nurse, whose calm hand its strong restriction lays,
  Kind but resistless, on our wayward days;
  Mart, where high wisdom at vast price is sold;
Gardener, whose touch bids the rose-petals fall,
  The thorns endure; surgeon, who human hearts        10
  Searchest with probes, though the death touch be given;
Spell that knits friends, but yearning lovers parts;
  Tyrant relentless o’er our blisses all;—
  Oh, can it be, thine other name is Heaven?

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