Consolation

By Robert Louis Stevenson 1850–1894
Though he, that ever kind and true,
Kept stoutly step by step with you,
Your whole long, gusty lifetime through,
      Be gone a while before,
Be now a moment gone before,
Yet, doubt not, soon the seasons shall restore
      Your friend to you.

He has but turned the corner — still
He pushes on with right good will,
Through mire and marsh, by heugh and hill,
      That self-same arduous way —
That self-same upland, hopeful way,
That you and he through many a doubtful day
      Attempted still.

He is not dead, this friend — not dead,
But in the path we mortals tread
Got some few, trifling steps ahead
      And nearer to the end;
So that you too, once past the bend,
Shall meet again, as face to face, this friend
      You fancy dead.

Push gaily on, strong heart! The while
You travel forward mile by mile,
He loiters with a backward smile
      Till you can overtake,
And strains his eyes to search his wake,
Or whistling, as he sees you through the brake,
      Waits on a stile.

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Poet Robert Louis Stevenson 1850–1894

POET’S REGION Scotland

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Subjects Time & Brevity, Living, Sorrow & Grieving, Death

Occasions Funerals

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

 Robert Louis Stevenson

Biography

Robert Louis Stevenson is best known as the author of the children’s classic Treasure Island, and the adult horror story, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Both of these novels have curious origins. A map of an imaginary island gave Stevenson the idea for the first story, and a nightmare supplied the premise of the second. In addition to memorable origins, these tales also share Stevenson’s key theme: the . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Time & Brevity, Living, Sorrow & Grieving, Death

POET’S REGION Scotland

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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