Saturday, December 3, 2016

On Robert Louis Stevenson

Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)

THE BURIAL OF ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON AT SAMOA
WHERE shall we lay you down to rest?
Where will you sleep the very best?
Mirthful and tender, dear and true—
Where shall we find a grave for you?
They thought of a spirit as brave as light
And they bore him up to a lonely height,
And they laid him there, where he loved to be,
On a mountain gazing o'er the sea!
They thought of a soul aflood with song,
And they buried him where the summer long
Myriad birds his requiem sing,
And the echoing woods about him ring!
They thought of a love that life redeems,
Of a heart the home of perfect dreams,
And they left him there, where the worlds aspire
In the sunrise glow and the sunset fire!
"The Burial of Robert Louis Stevenson at Samoa" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in The Outlook (14 September 1901), Mine and Thine (1904), and Poems (1916) Volume I.

THE DIFFERENCE
HAD Henley died, his course half run—
Had Henley died, and Stevenson
     Been left on earth, of him to write,
     He would have chosen to indite
His name in generous phrase—or none.

No envious humor, cold and dun,
Had marred the vesture he had spun,
     All luminous, to clothe his knight—
          Had Henley died!

Ah, well! at rest—poor Stevenson!—
Safe in our hearts his place is won.
     There love shall still his love requite,
     His faults divinely veiled from sight,
Whose tears had fallen in benison,
          Had Henley died!
"The Difference" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in The Century Magazine (April 1902) and Mine and Thine (1904).

A CATHEDRAL

ALL SAINTS' DAY IN THE GREAT NORTH WOODS

IT rises by a frozen mere,
With nave and transepts of the pines
That towering 'mid the snows appear
Majestic and sublime;
While, with a myriad fair designs
Of feathery-tufted tracery,
Their tops adorn with silver rime
The azure vault's immensity.

Rock-piled, the altar to the East
Lies argent-spread; on either hand—
Meek servers at the lonely feast—
Surpliced and tall the birches stand,
Like ghostly acolytes,
And through ice-mailèd branches pass,
Prismatic from celestial heights,
The tints of mediæval glass.

Awed, as in no cathedral raised
By human thought, alone, and still,
I muse on one who dying praised
The God of Being, here:
On him who welcomed with a will
The gift of life, the boon of death,—
The while he heard, deep-toned and near,
The solemn forest's organ-breath.*
*Robert Louis Stevenson at Saranac.
"A Cathedral" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in The Unconquered Air (1912) and Poems (1916) Volume I.


From October 1887 to April 1888, Robert Louis Stevenson and his family occupied what is now referred to as "Stevenson Cottage" while recovering from a lung ailment.

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