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Stevenson, Robert Louis

· Robert Louis Stevenson: Six love poems · Robert Louis Stevenson poem: Tropic Rain · Robert Louis Stevenson poem: Looking-Glass River

Robert Louis Stevenson: Six love poems

R o b e r t   L o u i s   S t e v e n s o n

Youth and love I

Once only by the garden gate

Our lips we joined and parted.

I must fulfil an empty fate

And travel the uncharted.

Hail and farewell! I must arise,

Leave here the fatted cattle,

And paint on foreign lands and skies

My Odyssey of battle.

The untented Kosmos my abode,

I pass, a wilful stranger:

My mistress still the open road

And the bright eyes of danger.

Come ill or well, the cross, the crown,

The rainbow or the thunder,

I fling my soul and body down

For God to plough them under.

Youth and love II

To the heart of youth the world is a highwayside.

Passing for ever, he fares; and on either hand,

Deep in the gardens golden pavilions hide,

Nestle in orchard bloom, and far on the level land

Call him with lighted lamp in the eventide.

Thick as the stars at night when the moon is down,

Pleasures assail him. He to his nobler fate

Fares; and but waves a hand as he passes on,

Cries but a wayside word to her at the garden gate,

Sings but a boyish stave and his face is gone.


In dreams

In dreams, unhappy, I behold you stand

As heretofore:

The unremembered tokens in your hand

Avail no more.

No more the morning glow, no more the grace,

Enshrines, endears.

Cold beats the light of time upon your face

And shows your tears.

He came and went. Perchance you wept a while

And then forgot.

Ah me! but he that left you

with a smile

Forgets you not.


She rested by the Broken Brook


She rested by the Broken Brook,

She drank of Weary Well,

She moved beyond my lingering look,

Ah, whither none can tell!

She came, she went. In other lands,

Perchance in fairer skies,

Her hands shall cling with other hands,

Her eyes to other eyes.

She vanished. In the sounding town,

Will she remember too?

Will she recall the eyes of brown

As I recall the blue?


To you

To you, let snow and roses

And golden locks belong.

These are the world’s enslavers,

Let these delight the throng.

For her of duskier lustre

Whose favour still I wear,

The snow be in her kirtle,

The rose be in her hair!

The hue of highland rivers

Careering, full and cool,

From sable on to golden,

From rapid on to pool –

The hue of heather-honey,

The hue of honey-bees,

Shall tinge her golden shoulder,

Shall gild her tawny knees.


Let Beauty awake

Let Beauty awake in the morn from beautiful dreams,

Beauty awake from rest!

Let Beauty awake

For Beauty’s sake

In the hour when the birds awake in the brake

And the stars are bright in the west!

Let Beauty awake in the eve from the slumber of day,

Awake in the crimson eve!

In the day’s dusk end

When the shades ascend,

Let her wake to the kiss of a tender friend

To render again and receive!


Robert Louis Stevenson: Six love poems

KEMP=MAG – kempis poetry magazine

More in: Stevenson, Robert Louis

Robert Louis Stevenson poem: Tropic Rain

Robert Louis Stevenson

Tropic Rain

As the single pang of the blow, when the metal is mingled well,

Rings and lives and resounds in all the bounds of the bell,

So the thunder above spoke with a single tongue,

So in the heart of the mountain the sound of it rumbled and clung.

Sudden the thunder was drowned – quenched was the levin light –

And the angel-spirit of rain laughed out loud in the night.

Loud as the maddened river raves in the cloven glen,

Angel of rain! you laughed and leaped on the roofs of men;

And the sleepers sprang in their beds, and joyed and feared as you fell.

You struck, and my cabin quailed; the roof of it roared like a bell.

You spoke, and at once the mountain shouted and shook with brooks.

You ceased, and the day returned, rosy, with virgin looks.

And me thought that beauty and terror are only one, not two;

And the world has room for love, and death, and thunder, and dew;

And all the sinews of hell slumber in summer air;

And the face of God is a rock, but the face of the rock is fair.

Beneficent streams of tears flow at the finger of pain;

And out of the cloud that smites, beneficent rivers of rain.

kemp=mag poetry magazine

More in: Archive S-T, Stevenson, Robert Louis

Robert Louis Stevenson poem: Looking-Glass River

R o b e r t   L o u i s   S t e v e n s o n

Looking-Glass River

Smooth it glides upon its travel,
Here a wimple, there a gleam–
O the clean gravel!
O the smooth stream!

Sailing blossoms, silver fishes,
Pave pools as clear as air–
How a child wishes
To live down there!

We can see our colored faces
Floating on the shaken pool
Down in cool places,
Dim and very cool;

Till a wind or water wrinkle,
Dipping marten, plumping trout,
Spreads in a twinkle
And blots all out.

See the rings pursue each other;
All below grows black as night,
Just as if mother
Had blown out the light!

Patience, children, just a minute–
See the spreading circles die;
The stream and all in it
Will clear by-and-by.


Paintings: John Singer Sargent (1856-1925)


More in: Stevenson, Robert Louis

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