I will make my kitchen, and you shall keep your room, Where white flows the river and bright blows the broom, And you shall wash your linen and keep your body white In rainfall at morning and dewfall at night.

And this shall be for music when no one else is near, The fine song for singing, the rare song to hear! That only I remember, that only you admire, Of the broad road that stretches and the roadside fire.

XII - WE HAVE LOVED OF YORE (To an air of Diabelli)

BERRIED brake and reedy island, Heaven below, and only heaven above, Through the sky's inverted azure Softly swam the boat that bore our love. Bright were your eyes as the day; Bright ran the stream, Bright hung the sky above. Days of April, airs of Eden, How the glory died through golden hours, And the shining moon arising, How the boat drew homeward filled with flowers! Bright were your eyes in the night: We have lived, my love - O, we have loved, my love.

Frost has bound our flowing river, Snow has whitened all our island brake, And beside the winter fagot Joan and Darby doze and dream and wake. Still, in the river of dreams Swims the boat of love - Hark! chimes the falling oar! And again in winter evens When on firelight dreaming fancy feeds, In those ears of aged lovers Love's own river warbles in the reeds. Love still the past, O my love! We have lived of yore, O, we have loved of yore.

XIII - MATER TRIUMPHANS

SON of my woman's body, you go, to the drum and fife, To taste the colour of love and the other side of life - From out of the dainty the rude, the strong from out of the frail, Eternally through the ages from the female comes the male.

The ten fingers and toes, and the shell-like nail on each, The eyes blind as gems and the tongue attempting speech; Impotent hands in my bosom, and yet they shall wield the sword! Drugged with slumber and milk, you wait the day of the Lord.

Infant bridegroom, uncrowned king, unanointed priest, Soldier, lover, explorer, I see you nuzzle the breast. You that grope in my bosom shall load the ladies with rings, You, that came forth through the doors, shall burst the doors of kings.

XIV

BRIGHT is the ring of words When the right man rings them, Fair the fall of songs When the singer sings them. Still they are carolled and said - On wings they are carried - After the singer is dead And the maker buried.

Low as the singer lies In the field of heather, Songs of his fashion bring The swains together. And when the west is red With the sunset embers, The lover lingers and sings And the maid remembers.

XV

IN the highlands, in the country places, Where the old plain men have rosy faces, And the young fair maidens Quiet eyes; Where essential silence cheers and blesses, And for ever in the hill-recesses Her more lovely music Broods and dies.

O to mount again where erst I haunted; Where the old red hills are bird-enchanted, And the low green meadows Bright with sward; And when even dies, the million-tinted, And the night has come, and planets glinted, Lo, the valley hollow Lamp-bestarred!

O to dream, O to awake and wander There, and with delight to take and render, Through the trance of silence, Quiet breath; Lo! for there, among the flowers and grasses, Only the mightier movement sounds and passes; Only winds and rivers, Life and death.

XVI (To the tune of Wandering Willie)

HOME no more home to me, whither must I wander? Hunger my driver, I go where I must. Cold blows the winter wind over hill and heather; Thick drives the rain, and my roof is in the dust. Loved of wise men was the shade of my roof-tree. The true word of welcome was spoken in the door - Dear days of old, with the faces in the firelight, Kind folks of old, you come again no more.

Home was home then, my dear, full of kindly faces, Home was home then, my dear, happy for the child. Fire and the windows bright glittered on the moorland; Song, tuneful song, built a palace in the wild. Now, when day dawns on the brow of the moorland, Lone stands the house, and the chimney-stone is cold. Lone let it stand, now the friends are all departed, The kind hearts, the true hearts, that loved the place of old.

Songs of Travel and Other Verses Page 04

Robert Louis Stevenson

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Robert Louis Stevenson
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