Lapsus Calami (Apr 1891)/On the Fly-Leaf of Treasure Island

Originally published in The Reflector, 22 January 1888. This is one of two pieces (the other is "Written on the Fly-Leaf of Maclise's Portrait Gallery") prefaced there by "A lady permits us to make the two following loans from her library." This one is described there as "Written in Mr Stevenson's 'Treasure Island,' after the 'Lines' to the Hesitating Purchaser." When it was reprinted in the first two editions of Lapsus Calami it was headed "To D. J. S."—presumably Dorothea Jane Stephen, the author's younger sister (born 1871). The author's brother dates the lines 1883 in the posthumous edition, Lapsus Calami and Other Verses. This piece was omitted in the third and subsequent editions of Lapsus Calami.

To D. J. S.

1. Written on the Fly-Leaf of Treasure Island by a "Hesitating Purchaser."

It sounds magnificent: but then
Perhaps I am a little old,
To buy a tale of lawless men,
Who scuttle ships and bury gold.

Yet still I love a pirate crew,
Still dote upon a buccaneer;
I'll buy the book, and read it through,
And pass it on to you, my dear.