In "Ode to Duty," what is referred to as "weary strife of frail humanity"? Why is humanity said to be 'frail'?Refer to the 1st stanza of the poem "Ode to Duty" by William Wordsworth.

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When Wordsworth was a younger man, he was disillusioned with the mechanical age in which he lived; Wordsworth felt that only the man who turned to nature, who felt the joy of nature, could find health in escape from the stagnation of contemporary life. Later in his life, however, he felt that moral law rather than nature was the solice that "frail humanity" should seek.

In "Ode to Duty" Wordsworth extols duty as the "Stern Daughter of the Voice of God" which gives meaning to human beings.  If a man answers the call of duty, for instance, his life is more worthy than one who simply lives a life of weakness:

Thou who art victory and law/When empty terrors overawe;/ From vain tempatations does set free,/And calms't the wary strife of frail humanity.

Following one's duty gives a man a life of meaning and of "victory" over his human fraility.  In line 19 Wordsworth declares that "Serene will be our days and bright," while in the final stanza the poet calls upon Duty to let his human struggle/strife and weakness end by giving to him "The spirit of self-sacrifice."