Robert Louis Stevenson > A Child’s Garden of Verses and Underwoods > XIII. To H. F. Brown
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Stevenson, Robert Louis (1850–1894).  A Child’s Garden of Verses and Underwoods.  1913.
  
XIII. To H. F. Brown

(Written during a dangerous sickness)

I SIT and wait a pair of oars 
On cis-Elysian river-shores. 
Where the immortal dead have sate, 
’T is mine to sit and meditate; 
To re-ascend life’s rivulet,         5
Without remorse, without regret; 
And sing my Alma Genetrix 
Among the willows of the Styx. 
  
And lo, as my serener soul 
Did these unhappy shores patrol,  10
And wait with an attentive ear 
The coming of the gondolier, 
Your fire-surviving roll I took, 
Your spirited and happy book; 1 
Whereon, despite my frowning fate,  15
It did my soul so recreate 
That all my fancies fled away 
On a Venetian holiday. 
  
Now, thanks to your triumphant care, 
Your pages clear as April air,  20
The sails, the bells, the birds, I know, 
And the far-off Friulan snow; 
The land and sea, the sun and shade, 
And the blue even lamp-inlaid. 
For this, for these, for all, O friend,  25
For your whole book from end to end— 
For Paron Piero’s muttonham— 
I your defaulting debtor am. 
  
Perchance, reviving yet may I 
To your sea-paven city hie,  30
And in a felze, some day yet 
Light at your pipe my cigarette. 


Note 1.  Life on the Lagoons, by H. F. Brown, originally burned in the fire at Messrs. Kegan Paul, Trench & Co.’s. [back]

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