Robert Louis Stevenson > A Child’s Garden of Verses and Underwoods > 5. The Dumb Soldier
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Stevenson, Robert Louis (1850–1894).  A Child’s Garden of Verses and Underwoods.  1913.
  
5. The Dumb Soldier

WHEN the grass was closely mown, 
Walking on the lawn alone, 
In the turf a hole I found 
And hid a soldier underground. 
  
Spring and daisies came apace;         5
Grasses hide my hiding place; 
Grasses run like a green sea 
O’er the lawn up to my knee. 
  
Under grass alone he lies, 
Looking up with leaden eyes,  10
Scarlet coat and pointed gun, 
To the stars and to the sun. 
  
When the grass is ripe like grain, 
When the scythe is stoned again, 
When the lawn is shaven clear,  15
Then my hole shall reappear. 
  
I shall find him, never fear, 
I shall find my grenadier; 
But for all that’s gone and come, 
I shall find my soldier dumb.  20
  
He has lived, a little thing, 
In the grassy woods of spring; 
Done, if he could tell me true, 
Just as I should like to do. 
  
He has seen the starry hours  25
And the springing of the flowers; 
And the fairy things that pass 
In the forests of the grass. 
  
In the silence he has heard 
Talking bee and ladybird,  30
And the butterfly has flown 
O’er him as he lay alone. 
  
Not a word will he disclose, 
Not a word of all he knows. 
I must lay him on the shelf,  35
And make up the tale myself. 

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