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Robert Louis Stevenson

(1850-1894 / Edinburgh / Scotland)

To Mrs. Macmarland


IN Schnee der Alpen - so it runs
To those divine accords - and here
We dwell in Alpine snows and suns,
A motley crew, for half the year:
A motley crew, we dwell to taste -
A shivering band in hope and fear -
That sun upon the snowy waste,
That Alpine ether cold and clear.

Up from the laboured plains, and up
From low sea-levels, we arise
To drink of that diviner cup
The rarer air, the clearer skies;
For, as the great, old, godly King
From mankind's turbid valley cries,
So all we mountain-lovers sing:
I to the hills will lift mine eyes.

The bells that ring, the peaks that climb,
The frozen snow's unbroken curd
Might yet revindicate in rhyme
The pauseless stream, the absent bird.
In vain - for to the deeps of life
You, lady, you my heart have stirred;
And since you say you love my life,
Be sure I love you for the word.

Of kindness, here I nothing say -
Such loveless kindnesses there are
In that grimacing, common way,
That old, unhonoured social war.
Love but my dog and love my love,
Adore with me a common star -
I value not the rest above
The ashes of a bad cigar.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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