Verse > Anthologies > > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse
Arthur Quiller-Couch, comp.  The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse.  1922.
A Charge
By Herbert Trench (1865–1923)
IF thou hast squander’d years to grave a gem
  Commission’d by thy absent Lord, and while
    ’Tis incomplete,
Others would bribe thy needy skill to them—
  Dismiss them to the street!        5
Should’st thou at last discover Beauty’s grove,
  At last be panting on the fragrant verge,
      But in the track,
Drunk with divine possession, thou meet Love—
  Turn at her bidding back.        10
When round thy ship in tempest Hell appears,
  And every spectre mutters up more dire
      To snatch control
And loose to madness thy deep-kennell’d Fears—
  Then to the helm, O Soul!        15
Last; if upon the cold green-mantling sea
  Thou cling, alone with Truth, to the last spar,
      Both castaway,
And one must perish—let it not be he
  Whom thou art sworn to obey!        20

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