Verse > Anthologies > > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse
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Arthur Quiller-Couch, comp.  The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse.  1922.
 
The Great Adventure
By Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)
 
’TIS sweet to hear of heroes dead,
  To know them still alive;
But sweeter if we earn their bread,
  And in us they survive.
 
Ye skies, drop gently round my breast        5
  And be my corselet blue;
Ye earth, receive my lance in rest,
  My faithful charger you:
 
Ye stars my spear-heads in the sky,
  My arrow-tips ye are:        10
I see the routed foemen fly
  My bright spears fix’d [for war].
 
Give me an angel for a foe!
  Fix now the place and time!
And straight to meet him I will go        15
  Above the starry chime:
 
And with our clashing bucklers’ clang
  The heavenly spheres shall ring,
While bright the northern lights shall hang
  Beside our tourneying.        20
 
And if she lose her champion true,
  Tell Heaven not to despair;
For I will be her champion new,
  Her fame I will repair.
 
 
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