New Poems

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TEMPEST TOSSED AND SORE AFFLICTED

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.

VARIANT FORM OF THE PRECEDING POEM

COME to me, all ye that labour; I will give your spirits rest; Here apart in starry quiet I will give you rest. Come to me, ye heavy laden, sin defiled and care opprest, In your father's quiet mansions, soon to prove a welcome guest. But an hour you bear your trial, sin and suffer, bleed and die; But an hour you toil and combat here in day's inspiring eye. See the feet of your deliverer; lo, the hour of freedom nigh.

I NOW, O FRIEND, WHOM NOISELESSLY THE SNOWS

I NOW, O friend, whom noiselessly the snows Settle around, and whose small chamber grows Dusk as the sloping window takes its load:

* * * * *

The kindly hill, as to complete our hap, Has ta'en us in the shelter of her lap; Well sheltered in our slender grove of trees And ring of walls, we sit between her knees; A disused quarry, paved with rose plots, hung With clematis, the barren womb whence sprung The crow-stepped house itself, that now far seen Stands, like a bather, to the neck in green. A disused quarry, furnished with a seat Sacred to pipes and meditation meet For such a sunny and retired nook. There in the clear, warm mornings many a book Has vied with the fair prospect of the hills That, vale on vale, rough brae on brae, upfills Halfway to the zenith all the vacant sky To keep my loose attention. . . . Horace has sat with me whole mornings through: And Montaigne gossiped, fairly false and true; And chattering Pepys, and a few beside That suit the easy vein, the quiet tide, The calm and certain stay of garden-life, Far sunk from all the thunderous roar of strife. There is about the small secluded place A garnish of old times; a certain grace Of pensive memories lays about the braes: The old chestnuts gossip tales of bygone days. Here, where some wandering preacher, blest Lazil, Perhaps, or Peden, on the middle hill Had made his secret church, in rain or snow, He cheers the chosen residue from woe. All night the doors stood open, come who might, The hounded kebbock mat the mud all night. Nor are there wanting later tales; of how Prince Charlie's Highlanders . . .

* * * * *

I have had talents, too. In life's first hour God crowned with benefits my childish head. Flower after flower, I plucked them; flower by flower Cast them behind me, ruined, withered, dead. Full many a shining godhead disappeared. From the bright rank that once adorned her brow The old child's Olympus

* * * * *

Gone are the fair old dreams, and one by one, As, one by one, the means to reach them went, As, one by one, the stars in riot and disgrace, I squandered what . . .

There shut the door, alas! on many a hope Too many; My face is set to the autumnal slope, Where the loud winds shall . . .

There shut the door, alas! on many a hope, And yet some hopes remain that shall decide My rest of years and down the autumnal slope.

* * * * *

Gone are the quiet twilight dreams that I Loved, as all men have loved them; gone! I have great dreams, and still they stir my soul on high - Dreams of the knight's stout heart and tempered will. Not in Elysian lands they take their way; Not as of yore across the gay champaign, Towards some dream city, towered . . . and my . . . The path winds forth before me, sweet and plain, Not now; but though beneath a stone-grey sky November's russet woodlands toss and wail, Still the white road goes thro' them, still may I, Strong in new purpose, God, may still prevail.

* * * * *

I and my like, improvident sailors!

* * * * *

At whose light fall awaking, all my heart Grew populous with gracious, favoured thought, And all night long thereafter, hour by hour, The pageant of dead love before my eyes Went proudly, and old hopes with downcast head Followed like Kings, subdued in Rome's imperial hour, Followed the car; and I . . .

New Poems Page 20

Robert Louis Stevenson

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Robert Louis Stevenson
Classic Literature Library

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