For, Lady (as you know), Whoever by his might of hand, Won entrance into Fairyland, Found always with admiring eyes A Fairy princess kind and wise. It was not long I waited; soon Upon my threshold, in broad noon, Gracious and helpful, wise and good, The Fairy Princess Moe stood.

Tantira, Tahiti, Nov. 5, 1888.

XXIX - TO KALAKAUA (With a present of a Pearl)

THE Silver Ship, my King - that was her name In the bright islands whence your fathers came - The Silver Ship, at rest from winds and tides, Below your palace in your harbour rides: And the seafarers, sitting safe on shore, Like eager merchants count their treasures o'er. One gift they find, one strange and lovely thing, Now doubly precious since it pleased a king.

The right, my liege, is ancient as the lyre For bards to give to kings what kings admire. 'Tis mine to offer for Apollo's sake; And since the gift is fitting, yours to take. To golden hands the golden pearl I bring: The ocean jewel to the island king.

Honolulu, Feb. 3, 1889.


[Written in April to Kaiulani in the April of her age; and at Waikiki, within easy walk of Kaiulani's banyan! When she comes to my land and her father's, and the rain beats upon the window (as I fear it will), let her look at this page; it will be like a weed gathered and pressed at home; and she will remember her own islands, and the shadow of the mighty tree; and she will hear the peacocks screaming in the dusk and the wind blowing in the palms; and she will think of her father sitting there alone. - R. L. S.]

FORTH from her land to mine she goes, The island maid, the island rose, Light of heart and bright of face: The daughter of a double race.

Her islands here, in Southern sun, Shall mourn their Kaiulani gone, And I, in her dear banyan shade, Look vainly for my little maid.

But our Scots islands far away Shall glitter with unwonted day, And cast for once their tempests by To smile in Kaiulani's eye.



To see the infinite pity of this place, The mangled limb, the devastated face, The innocent sufferer smiling at the rod - A fool were tempted to deny his God. He sees, he shrinks. But if he gaze again, Lo, beauty springing from the breast of pain! He marks the sisters on the mournful shores; And even a fool is silent and adores.

Guest House, Kalawao, Molokai.


I KNEW a silver head was bright beyond compare, I knew a queen of toil with a crown of silver hair. Garland of valour and sorrow, of beauty and renown, Life, that honours the brave, crowned her himself with the crown.

The beauties of youth are frail, but this was a jewel of age. Life, that delights in the brave, gave it himself for a gage. Fair was the crown to behold, and beauty its poorest part - At once the scar of the wound and the order pinned on the heart.

The beauties of man are frail, and the silver lies in the dust, And the queen that we call to mind sleeps with the brave and the just; Sleeps with the weary at length; but, honoured and ever fair, Shines in the eye of the mind the crown of the silver hair.


XXXIII - TO MY WIFE (A Fragment)

LONG must elapse ere you behold again Green forest frame the entry of the lane - The wild lane with the bramble and the brier, The year-old cart-tracks perfect in the mire, The wayside smoke, perchance, the dwarfish huts, And ramblers' donkey drinking from the ruts: - Long ere you trace how deviously it leads, Back from man's chimneys and the bleating meads To the woodland shadow, to the sylvan hush, When but the brooklet chuckles in the brush - Back from the sun and bustle of the vale To where the great voice of the nightingale Fills all the forest like a single room, And all the banks smell of the golden broom; So wander on until the eve descends. And back returning to your firelit friends, You see the rosy sun, despoiled of light, Hung, caught in thickets, like a schoolboy's kite.

Here from the sea the unfruitful sun shall rise, Bathe the bare deck and blind the unshielded eyes; The allotted hours aloft shall wheel in vain And in the unpregnant ocean plunge again. Assault of squalls that mock the watchful guard, And pluck the bursting canvas from the yard, And senseless clamour of the calm, at night Must mar your slumbers.

Robert Louis Stevenson
Classic Literature Library

All Pages of This Book