Robert Louis Stevenson

(1850-1894 / Edinburgh / Scotland)

frag2


Tall as a guardsman, pale as the east at dawn,
Who strides in strange apparel on the lawn?
Rails for his breakfast? routs his vassals out
(Like boys escaped from school) with song and shout?
Kind and unkind, his Maker's final freak,
Part we deride the child, part dread the antique!
See where his gang, like frogs, among the dew
Crouch at their duty, an unquiet crew;
Adjust their staring kilts; and their swift eyes
Turn still to him who sits to supervise.
He in the midst, perched on a fallen tree,
Eyes them at labour; and, guitar on knee,
Now ministers alarm, now scatters joy,
Now twangs a halting chord, now tweaks a boy.
Thorough in all, my resolute vizier
Plays both the despot and the volunteer,
Exacts with fines obedience to my laws,
And for his music, too, exacts applause.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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