New Poems

Page 15


COME, my beloved, hear from me Tales of the woods or open sea. Let our aspiring fancy rise A wren's flight higher toward the skies; Or far from cities, brown and bare, Play at the least in open air. In all the tales men hear us tell Still let the unfathomed ocean swell, Or shallower forest sound abroad Below the lonely stars of God; In all, let something still be done, Still in a corner shine the sun, Slim-ankled maids be fleet of foot, Nor man disown the rural flute. Still let the hero from the start In honest sweat and beats of heart Push on along the untrodden road For some inviolate abode. Still, O beloved, let me hear The great bell beating far and near- The odd, unknown, enchanted gong That on the road hales men along, That from the mountain calls afar, That lures a vessel from a star, And with a still, aerial sound Makes all the earth enchanted ground. Love, and the love of life and act Dance, live and sing through all our furrowed tract; Till the great God enamoured gives To him who reads, to him who lives, That rare and fair romantic strain That whoso hears must hear again.


SINCE years ago for evermore My cedar ship I drew to shore; And to the road and riverbed And the green, nodding reeds, I said Mine ignorant and last farewell: Now with content at home I dwell, And now divide my sluggish life Betwixt my verses and my wife: In vain; for when the lamp is lit And by the laughing fire I sit, Still with the tattered atlas spread Interminable roads I tread.


WHETHER upon the garden seat You lounge with your uplifted feet Under the May's whole Heaven of blue; Or whether on the sofa you, No grown up person being by, Do some soft corner occupy; Take you this volume in your hands And enter into other lands, For lo! (as children feign) suppose You, hunting in the garden rows, Or in the lumbered attic, or The cellar - a nail-studded door And dark, descending stairway found That led to kingdoms underground: There standing, you should hear with ease Strange birds a-singing, or the trees Swing in big robber woods, or bells On many fairy citadels:

There passing through (a step or so - Neither mamma nor nurse need know!) From your nice nurseries you would pass, Like Alice through the Looking-Glass Or Gerda following Little Ray, To wondrous countries far away. Well, and just so this volume can Transport each little maid or man Presto from where they live away Where other children used to play. As from the house your mother sees You playing round the garden trees, So you may see if you but look Through the windows of this book Another child far, far away And in another garden play. But do not think you can at all, By knocking on the window, call That child to hear you. He intent Is still on his play-business bent. He does not hear, he will not look, Nor yet be lured out of this book. For long ago, the truth to say, He has grown up and gone away; And it is but a child of air That lingers in the garden there.


WHEN Thomas set this tablet here, Time laughed at the vain chanticleer; And ere the moss had dimmed the stone, Time had defaced that garrison. Now I in turn keep watch and ward In my red house, in my walled yard Of sunflowers, sitting here at ease With friends and my bright canvases. But hark, and you may hear quite plain Time's chuckled laughter in the lane.


HAIL, guest, and enter freely! All you see Is, for your momentary visit, yours; and we Who welcome you are but the guests of God, And know not our departure.


LO, now, my guest, if aught amiss were said, Forgive it and dismiss it from your head. For me, for you, for all, to close the date, Pass now the ev'ning sponge across the slate; And to that spirit of forgiveness keep Which is the parent and the child of sleep.

Robert Louis Stevenson
Classic Literature Library

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