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And set the turf a-blazing,

But never a sign of Peter And brought the coarse black bread; Along the level track. That he might find a fire at night, But she said: "He will come at morning, And find the table spread.

So I need not fret or grieve –

Though it isn't like my boy at all
And Peter left the brother,

To stay without my leave."
With whom all day he had played,
And the sister who had watched their But where was the child delaying?
sports

On the homeward way was he,
In the willow's tender shade;

And across the dike while the sun was up And told them they'd see him back before An hour above the sea. They saw a star in sight,

He was stopping now to gather flowers, Though he would n't be afraid to go Now listening to the sound, In the very darkest night!

As the angry waters dashed themselves

Against their narrow bound. For he was a brave, bright fellow,

With eye and conscience clear; “Ah! well for us,” said Peter, He could do whatever a boy might do, “That the gates are good and strong, And he had not learned to fear.

And my father tends them carefully, Why, he would n't have robbed a bird's Or they would not hold you long! nest,

You're a wicked sea," said Peter; Nor brought a stork to harm,

“I know why you fret and chafe; Though never a law in Holland

You would like to spoil our lands and Had stood to stay his arm!

homes;

But our sluices keep you safe!"
And now, with his face all glowing,
And eyes as bright as the day

But hark! Through the noise of waters With the thoughts of his pleasant errand, Comes a low, clear, trickling sound; He trudged along the way;

And the child's face pales with terror, And soon his joyous prattle

And his blossoms drop to the ground. Made glad a lonesome place - He is up the bank in a moment, Alas! if only the blind old man

And stealing through the sand, Could have seen that happy face! He sees a stream not yet so large Yet he somehow caught the brightness As his slender, childish hand.

Which his voice and presence lent; And he felt the sunshine come and go 'Tis a leak in the dike! He is but a boy, As Peter came and went.

Unused to fearful scenes;

But, young as he is, he has learned to And now, as the day was sinking,

know And the winds began to rise,

The dreadful thing that means. The mother looked from her door again, A leak in the dike! The stoutest heart Shading her anxious eyes;

Grows faint that cry to hear, And saw the shadows deepen

And the bravest man in all the land And birds to their homes come back, Turns white with mortal fear,

For he knows the smallest leak may grow Her neighbors are bearing between them To a flood in a single night;

Something straight to her door; And he knows the strength of the cruel Her child is coming home, but not sea

As he ever came before! When loosed in its angry might.

"He is dead!" she cries; "my darling!" And the boy! He has seen the danger, And the startled father hears, And, shouting a wild alarm,

And comes and looks the

way

she looks, He forces back the weight of the sea And fears the thing she fears:

With the strength of his single arm! Till a glad shout from the bearers He listens for the joyful sound

Thrills the stricken man and wife Of a footstep passing nigh;

"Give thanks, for your son has saved our And lays his ear to the ground, to catch

land, The answer to his cry.

And God has saved his life!” And he hears the rough winds blowing, | So, there in the morning sunshine And the waters rise and fall,

They knelt about the boy; But never an answer comes to him, And

every

head was bared and bent Save the echo of his call.

In tearful, reverent joy.
He sees no hope, no succor,
His feeble voice is lost;

'T is many a year since then; but still, Yet what shall he do but watch and wait,

When the sea roars like a flood, Though he perish at his post!

Their boys are taught what a boy can do

Who is brave and true and good. So, faintly calling and crying

For every man in that country Till the sun is under the sea;

Takes his son by the hand, Crying and moaning till the stars

And tells him of little Peter,
Come out for company;

Whose courage saved the land.
He thinks of his brother and sister,
Asleep in their safe warm bed;

They have many a valiant hero,
He thinks of his father and mother,

Remembered through the years: Of himself as dying- and dead;

But never one whose name so oft And of how, when the night is over,

Is named with loving tears. They must come and find him at last:

And his deed shall be sung by the cradle, But he never thinks he can leave the place

And told to the child on the knee, Where duty holds him fast.

So long as the dikes of Holland

Divide the land from the sea!
The good dame in the cottage
Is up and astir with the light,

The world's greatest writer of verse for For the thought of her little Peter

children, Robert Louis Stevenson, was Has been with her all night.

born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1850. And now she watches the pathway,

After he was twenty-five years old he spent As yester eve she had done;

much of the rest of his short life traveling in But what does she see so strange and

search of health. From 1889 to the time black

of his death in 1894 he resided in Samoa. Against the rising sun?

The verses given here (Nos. 282–295) are

"sublimated dime novel,” that is, it has all the decidedly attractive features of the “dime novel” plus the fine art of storytelling which is always lacking in that sensational type of story.

282 WHOLE DUTY OF CHILDREN

ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON A child should always say what's true, And speak when he is spoken to, And behave mannerly at table; At least as far as he is able.

taken from his famous book, A Child's Garden of Verses, which, says Professor Saintsbury, "is, perhaps, the most perfectly natural book of the kind. It was supplemented later by other poems for children; and some of his work outside this, culminating in the widely knownepitaph

Home is the sailor, home from sea,

And the hunter home from the hill, has the rarely combined merits of simplicity, sincerity, music, and strength." One of the best of Stevenson's poems for children outside the Child's Garden of Verses is the powerfully dramatic story called Heather Ale. In attempting to solve the secret of Stevenson's supremacy, Edmund Gosse calls attention to the “curiously candid and confidential attitude of mind” in these poems, to the "extraordinary clearness and precision with which the immature fancies of eager childhood” are reproduced, and particularly, to the fact that they give us "a transcript of that child-mind which we have all possessed and enjoyed, but of which no one, except Mr. Stevenson, seems to have carried away a photograph.” It is this ability to hand on a photographic transcript of the child's way of seeing things that, according to Mr. Gosse, puts Stevenson in a class which contains only two other members, Hans Christian Andersen in nursery stories, and Juliana Horatia Ewing in the more realistic prose tale. Children find expressed in these poems their own active fancies. It has been objected to them that the child pictured there is a lonely child, but every child, like every mature person, has an inner world of dreams and experiences in which he delights now and then to dwell. The presence of the qualities mentioned put at least two of Stevenson's prose romances among the most splendid adventure stories for young people, Treasure Island and Kidnapped. Perhaps no book is more popular among pupils of the seventh and eighth grades than the former. It has been called a

283

THE COW
ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON
The friendly cow all red and white,

I love with all my heart:
She gives me cream with all her might,

To eat with apple-tart.
She wanders lowing here and there,

And yet she cannot stray,
All in the pleasant open air,

The pleasant light of day;
And blown by all the winds that pass

And wet with all the showers,
She walks among the meadow grass

And eats the meadow flowers.

284
TIME TO RISE

ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON
A birdie with a yellow bill
Hopped upon the window-sill,
Cocked his shining eye and said:
“Ain't you 'shamed, you sleepy-head?”

285

RAIN ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON The rain is raining all around,

It falls on field and tree, It rains on the umbrellas here,

And on the ships at sea.

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The strangest things are there for me, Both things to eat and things to see, And many frightening sights abroad, Till morning in the land of Nod.

Try as I like to find the way,
I never can get back by day,
Nor can remember plain and clear
The curious music that I hear.

289

THE LAND OF STORY-BOOKS

ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

THE LAMPLIGHTER

ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

My tea is nearly ready and the sun has

left the sky; It's time to take the window to see

Leerie going by; For every night at tea-time and before

you take your seat, With lantern and with ladder he comes

posting up the street.

Now Tom would be a driver and Maria

go to sea, And my papa's a banker and as rich as

he can be; But I, when I am stronger and can

choose what I'm to do, O Leerie, I'll go round at night and

light the lamps with you!

At evening when the lamp is lit, Around the fire my parents sit; They sit at home and talk and sing, And do not play at anything.

Now, with my little gun, I crawl All in the dark along the wall,

291

And follow round the forest track Away behind the sofa back.

MY SHADOW

There, in the night, where none can spy,
All in my hunter's camp I lie,
And play at books that I have read
Till it is time to go to bed.

These are the hills, these are the woods,
These are my starry solitudes;
And there the river by whose brink
The roaring lion comes to drink.

ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON I have a little shadow that goes in and

out with me, And what can be the use of him is more

than I can see. He is very, very like me from the heels

up to the head; And I see him jump before me, when I

jump into my bed. The funniest thing about him is the way

he likes to growNot at all like proper children, which is

always very slow; For he sometimes shoots up taller like an

india-rubber ball, And he sometimes gets so little that there's

none of him at all.

I see the others far away
As if in firelit camp they lay,
And I, like to an Indian scout,
Around their party prowled about.

So when my nurse comes in for me,
Home I return across the sea,
And go to bed with backward looks
At my dear Land of Story-books.

290

MY BED IS A BOAT

He has n't got a notion of how children

ought to play, And can only make a fool of me in every

sort of way. He stays so close beside me, he's a coward

you can see; I'd think shame to stick to nursie as that

shadow sticks to me!

ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON My bed is like a little boat;

Nurse helps me in when I embark: She girds me in my sailor's coat

And starts me in the dark.

At night, I go on board and say

Good-night to all my friends on shore; I shut my eyes and sail away

And see and hear no more.

One morning, very early, before the sun

was up, I rose and found the shining dew on every

buttercup; But my lazy little shadow, like an arrant

sleepy-head, Had stayed at home behind me and was

fast asleep in bed.

And sometimes things to bed I take,

As prudent sailors have to do;
Perhaps a slice of wedding-cake,

Perhaps a toy or two.
All night across the dark we steer;

But when the day returns at last, Safe in my room, beside the pier,

I find my vessel fast.

292 THE SWING ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON How do you like to go up in a swing,

Up in the air so blue?

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