New Poems

Page 06

APOLOGETIC POSTSCRIPT OF A YEAR LATER

IF you see this song, my dear, And last year's toast, I'm confoundedly in fear You'll be serious and severe About the boast.

Blame not that I sought such aid To cure regret. I was then so lowly laid I used all the Gasconnade That I could get.

Being snubbed is somewhat smart, Believe, my sweet; And I needed all my art To restore my broken heart To its conceit.

Come and smile, dear, and forget I boasted so, I apologise - regret - It was all a jest; - and - yet - I do not know.

TO MARCUS

YOU have been far, and I Been farther yet, Since last, in foul or fair An impecunious pair, Below this northern sky Of ours, we met.

Now winter night shall see Again us two, While howls the tempest higher, Sit warmly by the fire And dream and plan, as we Were wont to do.

And, hand in hand, at large Our thoughts shall walk While storm and gusty rain, Again and yet again, Shall drive their noisy charge Across the talk.

The pleasant future still Shall smile to me, And hope with wooing hands Wave on to fairy lands All over dale and hill And earth and sea.

And you who doubt the sky And fear the sun - You - Christian with the pack - You shall not wander back For I am Hopeful - I Will cheer you on.

Come - where the great have trod, The great shall lead - Come, elbow through the press, Pluck Fortune by the dress - By God, we must - by God, We shall succeed.

TO OTTILIE

YOU remember, I suppose, How the August sun arose, And how his face Woke to trill and carolette All the cages that were set About the place.

In the tender morning light All around lay strange and bright And still and sweet, And the gray doves unafraid Went their morning promenade Along the street.

THIS GLOOMY NORTHERN DAY

THIS gloomy northern day, Or this yet gloomier night, Has moved a something high In my cold heart; and I, That do not often pray, Would pray to-night.

And first on Thee I call For bread, O God of might! Enough of bread for all, - That through the famished town Cold hunger may lie down With none to-night.

I pray for hope no less, Strong-sinewed hope, O Lord, That to the struggling young May preach with brazen tongue Stout Labour, high success, And bright reward.

And last, O Lord, I pray For hearts resigned and bold To trudge the dusty way - Hearts stored with song and joke And warmer than a cloak Against the cold.

If nothing else he had, He who has this, has all. This comforts under pain; This, through the stinging rain, Keeps ragamuffin glad Behind the wall.

This makes the sanded inn A palace for a Prince, And this, when griefs begin And cruel fate annoys, Can bring to mind the joys Of ages since.

THE WIND IS WITHOUT THERE AND HOWLS IN THE TREES

THE wind is without there and howls in the trees, And the rain-flurries drum on the glass: Alone by the fireside with elbows on knees I can number the hours as they pass. Yet now, when to cheer me the crickets begin, And my pipe is just happily lit, Believe me, my friend, tho' the evening draws in, That not all uncontested I sit.

Alone, did I say? O no, nowise alone With the Past sitting warm on my knee, To gossip of days that are over and gone, But still charming to her and to me. With much to be glad of and much to deplore, Yet, as these days with those we compare, Believe me, my friend, tho' the sorrows seem more They are somehow more easy to bear.

And thou, faded Future, uncertain and frail, As I cherish thy light in each draught, His lamp is not more to the miner - their sail Is not more to the crew on the raft. For Hope can make feeble ones earnest and brave, And, as forth thro' the years I look on, Believe me, my friend, between this and the grave, I see wonderful things to be done.

To do or to try; and, believe me, my friend, If the call should come early for me, I can leave these foundations uprooted, and tend For some new city over the sea. To do or to try; and if failure be mine, And if Fortune go cross to my plan, Believe me, my friend, tho' I mourn the design I shall never lament for the man.

New Poems Page 07

Robert Louis Stevenson

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Robert Louis Stevenson
Classic Literature Library

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