Consolation

Consolation
Though he that ever kind and true
Kept stoutly step by step with you
Your whole long gusty lifetime through,
	Be gone awhile before,
Be now a moment gone before,
Yet, doubt not, soon the seasons shall restore
	Your friend to you.

He has but turned a 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.
Robert Louis Stevenson

from The Collected Poems of Robert Louis Stevenson, edited by Roger C. Lewis (Edinburgh University Press, 2003)

Robert Louis Stevenson

It is sadly ironic that one of the writers who wrote best about Scotland and the Scottish character was not able to live in the country, and died far from his native land, a novel imbued with the essence of Scotland under his pen on the day he died.

 

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