XXIII

HE hears with gladdened heart the thunder Peal, and loves the falling dew; He knows the earth above and under - Sits and is content to view.

He sits beside the dying ember, God for hope and man for friend, Content to see, glad to remember, Expectant of the certain end.

XXIV

FAREWELL, fair day and fading light! The clay-born here, with westward sight, Marks the huge sun now downward soar. Farewell. We twain shall meet no more.

Farewell. I watch with bursting sigh My late contemned occasion die. I linger useless in my tent: Farewell, fair day, so foully spent!

Farewell, fair day. If any God At all consider this poor clod, He who the fair occasion sent Prepared and placed the impediment.

Let him diviner vengeance take - Give me to sleep, give me to wake Girded and shod, and bid me play The hero in the coming day!

XXV - IF THIS WERE FAITH

GOD, if this were enough, That I see things bare to the buff And up to the buttocks in mire; That I ask nor hope nor hire, Nut in the husk, Nor dawn beyond the dusk, Nor life beyond death: God, if this were faith?

Having felt thy wind in my face Spit sorrow and disgrace, Having seen thine evil doom In Golgotha and Khartoum, And the brutes, the work of thine hands, Fill with injustice lands And stain with blood the sea: If still in my veins the glee Of the black night and the sun And the lost battle, run: If, an adept, The iniquitous lists I still accept With joy, and joy to endure and be withstood, And still to battle and perish for a dream of good: God, if that were enough?

If to feel, in the ink of the slough, And the sink of the mire, Veins of glory and fire Run through and transpierce and transpire, And a secret purpose of glory in every part, And the answering glory of battle fill my heart; To thrill with the joy of girded men To go on for ever and fail and go on again, And be mauled to the earth and arise, And contend for the shade of a word and a thing not seen with the eyes: With the half of a broken hope for a pillow at night That somehow the right is the right And the smooth shall bloom from the rough: Lord, if that were enough?

XXVI - MY WIFE

TRUSTY, dusky, vivid, true, With eyes of gold and bramble-dew, Steel-true and blade-straight, The great artificer Made my mate.

Honour, anger, valour, fire; A love that life could never tire, Death quench or evil stir, The mighty master Gave to her.

Teacher, tender, comrade, wife, A fellow-farer true through life, Heart-whole and soul-free The august father Gave to me.

XXVII - TO THE MUSE

RESIGN the rhapsody, the dream, To men of larger reach; Be ours the quest of a plain theme, The piety of speech.

As monkish scribes from morning break Toiled till the close of light, Nor thought a day too long to make One line or letter bright:

We also with an ardent mind, Time, wealth, and fame forgot, Our glory in our patience find And skim, and skim the pot:

Till last, when round the house we hear The evensong of birds, One corner of blue heaven appear In our clear well of words.

Leave, leave it then, muse of my heart! Sans finish and sans frame, Leave unadorned by needless art The picture as it came.

XXVIII - TO AN ISLAND PRINCESS

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.

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Robert Louis Stevenson

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Robert Louis Stevenson
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