Homework Help

In "Ode to Duty," why is 'duty' referred to as the "stern daughter of the voice of God?"

user profile pic

smart20 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 23, 2009 at 10:02 PM via web

dislike 1 like

In "Ode to Duty," why is 'duty' referred to as the "stern daughter of the voice of God?"

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

lit24 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted February 23, 2009 at 11:28 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 1 like

"Duty" is the "stern daughter of the voice of God," because as Wordsworth remarks "it is a light to  guide, a rod/To check the erring and reprove."

Darkness is a result of our ignorance which leads us astray and forces us to make mistakes, but 'duty' pricks our conscience and enlightens us to guide us along the right path. "Duty" is a hard taskmaster who prevents us from making mistakes by cautioning us of the dangers ahead and thus correcting us.

Wordsworth himself thanks "duty" for its harsh discipline and adds that because he submitted to its "stern" discipline and correction he has benefitted a great deal and would henceforth willingly submit to its guidance, "but thee I now would serve more strictly, if I may."

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes