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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch 1863–1944

The Splendid Spur


NOT on the neck of prince or hound

Nor on a woman’s finger twin’d,

May gold from the deriding ground

Keep sacred that we sacred bind:

Only the heel

Of splendid steel

Shall stand secure on sliding fate,

When golden navies weep their freight.

The scarlet hat, the laurell’d stave

Are measures, not the springs, of worth;

In a wife’s lap, as in a grave,

Man’s airy notions mix with earth.

Seek other spur

Bravely to stir

The dust in this loud world, and tread

Alp-high among the whisp’ring dead.

Trust in thyself,—then spur amain:

So shall Charybdis wear a grace,

Grim Ætna laugh, the Libyan plain

Take roses to her shrivell’d face.

This orb—this round

Of sight and sound—

Count it the lists that God hath built

For haughty hearts to ride a-tilt.