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Author: Poetry of Robert Louis Stevenson Type: Poetry Views: 105

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NOT thine where marble-still and white

Old statues share the tempered light

And mock the uneven modern flight,

But in the stream

Of daily sorrow and delight

To seek a theme.

I too, O friend, have steeled my heart

Boldly to choose the better part,

To leave the beaten ways of art,

And wholly free

To dare, beyond the scanty chart,

The deeper sea.

All vain restrictions left behind,

Frail bark! I loose my anchored mind

And large, before the prosperous wind

Desert the strand -

A new Columbus sworn to find

The morning land.

Nor too ambitious, friend.To thee

I own my weakness.Not for me

To sing the enfranchised nations' glee,

Or count the cost

Of warships foundered far at sea

And battles lost.

High on the far-seen, sunny hills,

Morning-content my bosom fills;

Well-pleased, I trace the wandering rills

And learn their birth.

Far off, the clash of sovereign wills

May shake the earth.

The nimble circuit of the wheel,

The uncertain poise of merchant weal,

Heaven of famine, fire and steel

When nations fall;

These, heedful, from afar I feel -

I mark them all.

But not, my friend, not these I sing,

My voice shall fill a narrower ring.

Tired souls, that flag upon the wing,

I seek to cheer:

Brave wines to strengthen hope I bring,

Life's cantineer!

Some song that shall be suppling oil

To weary muscles strained with toil,

Shall hearten for the daily moil,

Or widely read

Make sweet for him that tills the soil

His daily bread.

Such songs in my flushed hours I dream

(High thought) instead of armour gleam

Or warrior cantos ream by ream

To load the shelves -

Songs with a lilt of words, that seem

To sing themselves.


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