The Edinburgh Companion to Robert Louis Stevenson

By Penny Fielding | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SEVEN
Stevenson’s Poetry

Penny Fielding

In 1883 Stevenson wrote to his friend W. E. Henley: ‘You may be surprised to hear that I am now a great writer of verses.’1 Readers today may likewise be surprised to think of Stevenson, the famous storyteller, as a poet. Or perhaps they may conclude that he was not a poet really, but, as he himself often claimed, a writer merely of ‘verses’, especially for children. In this chapter, we will see what kind of a poet Stevenson was, and what was the relation of his ‘verses’ to poetic forms of his day, as well as to his own ideas about aesthetics, travel and time. Stevenson published only three collections in his lifetime: A Child’s Garden of Verses (1885), Underwoods (1887), and Ballads (1890). Following his death in 1894, Songs of Travel was included in the Edinburgh Edition of his work in 1895, and issued separately the following year. Further poems appeared posthumously in collected editions, and in a volume called New Poems in 1918.

Of his poetry for adults, Stevenson’s most famous stanza is perhaps this one:

This be the verse you grave for me:
Here he lies where he longed to be;
Home is the sailor, home from sea,
And the hunter home from the hill
.2

These lines, the second stanza of the poem ‘Requiem’, were inscribed (with the addition of ‘the sea’ in the third line’) on Stevenson’s grave in Samoa. Among the many tributes written after Stevenson’s death, A. E. Housman composed his own version of ‘Requiem’, which includes the stanza:

Home is the hunter from the hill:
Fast in the boundless snare
All flesh lies taken at his will
And every fowl of air.3

Housman requires us to read Stevenson in an unexpected way. The original stanza, with its melodious expression of a longing for home that might finally

-102-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Edinburgh Companion to Robert Louis Stevenson
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Series Editors’ Preface vi
  • Brief Biography of Robert Louis Stevenson vii
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter One - Stevenson and Fiction 11
  • Chapter Two - Romance and Social Class 27
  • Chapter Three - Childhood and Psychology 41
  • Chapter Four - Stevenson and Fin-de-Siècle Gothic 53
  • Chapter Five - Stevenson, Scott and Scottish History 70
  • Chapter Six - Travel Writing 86
  • Chapter Seven - Stevenson’s Poetry 102
  • Chapter Eight - Stevenson and the Pacific 118
  • Chapter Nine - Stevenson and Henry James 134
  • Chapter Ten - Stevenson’s Afterlives 147
  • Endnotes 160
  • Further Reading 184
  • Notes on Contributors 186
  • Index 189
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 200

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.