Oh Say Not That My Heart is Cold

We present this work in honor of the poet’s 230th birthday.

12-14 Wolfe
Charles Wolfe
Irish
1791 – 1823

Oh say not that my heart is cold
To aught that once could warm it —
That Nature’s Form so dear of old
No more has power to charm it;
Or that th’ ungenerous world can chill
One glow of fond emotion
For those who made it dearer still,
And shared my wild devotion.

Still oft those solemn scenes I view
In rapt and dreamy sadness;
Oft look on those who loved them too
With Fancy’s idle gladness;
Again I longed to view the light
In Nature’s features glowing;
Again to tread the mountain’s height,
And taste the soul’s o’erflowing.

Stern Duty rose, and frowning flung
His leaden chain around me;
With iron look and sullen tongue
He muttered as he bound me —
‘The mountain breeze, the boundless heaven,
Unfit for toil the creature;
These for the free alone were given, —
But what have slaves with Nature?’

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