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Robert louis stevenson

Robert Louis Stevenson

POEMS
FOLLOWERS
16

Under the wide and starry sky
Dig the grave and let me lie.
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.

This be the verse you grave for me;
“Here he lies where he longed to be,
Home is the sailor, home from sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.”

1

My house, I say. But hark to the sunny doves
That make my roof the arena of their loves,
That gyre about the gable all day long
And fill the chimneys with their murmurous song:
Our house, they say; and mine, the cat declares
And spreads his golden fleece upon the chairs;
And mine the dog, and rises stiff with wrath
If any alien foot profance the path.
So, too, the buck that trimmed my terraces,
Our whilom gardener, called the garden his;
Who now, deposed, surveys my plain abode
And his late kingdom, only from the road.

For love of lovely words, and for the sake
Of those, my kinsmen and my countrymen,
Who early and late in the windy ocean toiled
To plant a star for seamen, where was then
The surfy haunt of seals and cormorants:
I, on the lintel of this cot, inscribe
The name of a strong tower.

Fifteen men on the Dead Man’s Chest —
      Yo—ho—ho, and a bottle of rum!
Drink and the devil had done for the rest —
      Yo—ho—ho, and a bottle of rum!

My bed is like a little boat;
Nurse helps me in when I embark;
She girds me in my sailor’s coat
And starts me in the dark.

At night I go on board and say
Good—night to all my friends on shore;
I shut my eyes and sail away
And see and hear no more.

And sometimes things to bed I take,
As prudent sailors have to do;
Perhaps a slice of wedding—cake,
Perhaps a toy or two.

All night across the dark we steer;
But when the day returns at last,
Safe in my room beside the pier,
I find my vessel fast.

OH, I wad like to ken—to the beggar—wife says I—
Why chops are guid to brander and nane sae guid to fry.
An’ siller, that ’s sae braw to keep, is brawer still to gi’e.
It ’s gey an’ easy spierin’, says the beggar—wife to me.

Oh, I wad like to ken—to the beggar—wife says I—
Hoo a’things come to be whaur we find them when we try,
The lasses in their claes an’ the fishes in the sea.
It ’s gey an’ easy spierin’, says the beggar—wife to me.

Oh, I wad like to ken—to the beggar—wife says I—
Why lads are a’ to sell an’lasses a’ to buy;
An’ naebody for dacency but barely twa or three.
It ’s gey an’ easy spierin’, says the beggar—wife to me.

Oh, I wad like to ken—to the beggar—wife says I—
Gin death’s as shure to men as killin’ is to kye,
Why God has filled the yearth sae fu’ o’ tasty things to pree.
It ’s gey an’ easy spierin’, says the beggar—wife to me.

Oh, I wad like to ken—to the beggar—wife says I—
The reason o’ the cause an’ the wherefore o’ the why,
Wi’ mony anither riddle brings the tear into my e’e.
It ’s gey an’ easy spierin’, says the beggar—wife to me.

Since long ago, a child at home,
I read and longed to rise and roam,
Where’er I went, whate’er I willed,
One promised land my fancy filled.
Hence the long roads my home I made;
Tossed much in ships; have often laid
Below the uncurtained sky my head,
Rain-deluged and wind-buffeted:
And many a thousand hills I crossed
And corners turned - Love’s labour lost,
Till, Lady, to your isle of sun
I came, not hoping; and, like one
Snatched out of blindness, rubbed my eyes,
And hailed my promised land with cries.

Yes, Lady, here I was at last;
Here found I all I had forecast:
The long roll of the sapphire sea
That keeps the land’s virginity;
The stalwart giants of the wood
Laden with toys and flowers and food;
The precious forest pouring out
To compass the whole town about;
The town itself with streets of lawn,
Loved of the moon, blessed by the dawn,
Where the brown children all the day
Keep up a ceaseless noise of play,
Play in the sun, play in the rain,
Nor ever quarrel or complain; -
And late at night, in the woods of fruit,
Hark! do you hear the passing flute?

I threw one look to either hand,
And knew I was in Fairyland.
And yet one point of being so
I lacked.  For, Lady (as you know),
Whoever by his might of hand,
Won entrance into Fairyland,
Found always with admiring eyes
A Fairy princess kind and wise.
It was not long I waited; soon
Upon my threshold, in broad noon,
Gracious and helpful, wise and good,
The Fairy Princess Moe stood.

A lover of the moorland bare,
And honest country winds, you were;
The silver-skimming rain you took;
And loved the floodings of the brook,
Dew, frost and mountains, fire and seas,
Tumultuary silences,
Winds that in darkness fifed a tune,
And the high-riding virgin moon.

And as the berry, pale and sharp,
Springs on some ditch’s counterscarp
In our ungenial, native north —
You put your frosted wildings forth,
And on the heath, afar from man,
A strong and bitter virgin ran.

The berry ripened keeps the rude
And racy flavour of the wood.
And you that loved the empty plain
All redolent of wind and rain,

Around you still the curlew sings —
The freshness of the weather clings —
The maiden jewels of the rain
Sit in your dabbled locks again.

We uncommiserate pass into the night
From the loud banquet, and departing leave
A tremor in men’s memories, faint and sweet
And frail as music. Features of our face,
The tones of the voice, the touch of the loved hand,
Perish and vanish, one by one, from earth:
Meanwhile, in the hall of song, the multitude
Applauds the new performer. One, perchance,
One ultimate survivor lingers on,
And smiles, and to his ancient heart recalls
The long forgotten. Ere the morrow die,
He too, returning, through the curtain comes,
And the new age forgets us and goes on.

MEN are Heaven’s piers; they evermore
Unwearying bear the skyey floor;
Man’s theatre they bear with ease,
Unfrowning cariatides!
I, for my wife, the sun uphold,
Or, dozing, strike the seasons cold.
She, on her side, in fairy—wise
Deals in diviner mysteries,
By spells to make the fuel burn
And keep the parlour warm, to turn
Water to wine, and stones to bread,
By her unconquered hero—head.
A naked Adam, naked Eve,
Alone the primal bower we weave;
Sequestered in the seas of life,
A Crusoe couple, man and wife,
With all our good, with all our will,
Our unfrequented isle we fill;
And victor in day’s petty wars,
Each for the other lights the stars.
Come then, my Eve, and to and fro
Let us about our garden go;
And, grateful—hearted, hand in hand
Revisit all our tillage land,
And marvel at our strange estate,
For hooded ruin at the gate
Sits watchful, and the angels fear
To see us tread so boldly here.
Meanwhile, my Eve, with flower and grass
Our perishable days we pass;
Far more the thorn observe– and see
How our enormous sins go free—
Nor less admire, beside the rose,
How far a little virtue goes.

TEMPEST tossed and sore afflicted, sin defiled and care oppressed,
Come to me, all ye that labour; come, and I will give ye rest.
Fear no more, O doubting hearted; weep no more, O weeping eye!
Lo, the voice of your redeemer; lo, the songful morning near.

Here one hour you toil and combat, sin and suffer, bleed and die;
In my father’s quiet mansion soon to lay your burden by.
Bear a moment, heavy laden, weary hand and weeping eye.
Lo, the feet of your deliverer; lo, the hour of freedom here.

The friendly cow all red and white,
I love with all my heart:
She gives me cream with all her might,
To eat with apple—tart.

She wanders lowing here and there,
And yet she cannot stray,
All in the pleasant open air,
The pleasant light of day;

And blown by all the winds that pass
And wet with all the showers,
She walks among the meadow grass
And eats the meadow flowers.