Thursday, May 11, 2006

Youth and Love, I

by Robert Louis Stevenson

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.

* * *

The semester is over now. For good or ill, I have finished my last exam and will be flying out of here on Sunday. I expect the summer to be an adventure, hence the poem. It's nice and classical, too.


Charlemagne said...

Magnificent. I never knew that Stevenson wrote such great poetry.

Sheila said...

Didn't you though? Even some of his children's poetry is very good, like "Windy Nights." I should post that sometime.

Meredith said...

Wow! I thought that this sounded familiar, and it turns out that RLS also wrote this poem I like:

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.

I heard a beautiful sung version of this on a Bryn Terfel CD. Shiver shiver shiver....