Robert Louis Stevenson

(1850-1894 / Edinburgh / Scotland)

Long Time I Lay In Little Ease


LONG TIME I LAY IN LITTLE EASE


LONG time I lay in little ease
Where, placed by the Turanian,
Marseilles, the many-masted, sees
The blue Mediterranean.

Now songful in the hour of sport,
Now riotous for wages,
She camps around her ancient port,
As ancient of the ages.

Algerian airs through all the place
Unconquerably sally;
Incomparable women pace
The shadows of the alley.

And high o'er dark and graving yard
And where the sky is paler,
The golden virgin of the guard
Shines, beckoning the sailor.

She hears the city roar on high,
Thief, prostitute, and banker;
She sees the masted vessels lie
Immovably at anchor.

She sees the snowy islets dot
The sea's immortal azure,
And If, that castellated spot,
Tower, turret, and embrasure.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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