Verse > Anthologies > > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse
Arthur Quiller-Couch, comp.  The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse.  1922.
Song: ‘Seek not the tree of silkiest bark’
By Aubrey Thomas de Vere (1814–1902)
SEEK not the tree of silkiest bark
    And balmiest bud,
To carve her name while yet ’tis dark
    Upon the wood!
The world is full of noble tasks        5
    And wreaths hard won;
Each work demands strong hearts, strong hands,
    Till day is done.
Sing not that violet-veinèd skin,
    That cheek’s pale roses,        10
The lily of that form wherein
    Her soul reposes!
Forth to the fight, true man! true knight!
    The clash of arms
Shall more prevail than whisper’d tale        15
    To win her charms.
The warrior for the True, the Right,
    Fights in Love’s name;
The love that lures thee from the fight
    Lures thee to shame:        20
That love which lifts the heart, yet leaves
    The spirit free,—
That love, or none, is fit for one
    Man-shaped like thee.

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