Page:New poems and variant readings, Stevenson, 1918.djvu/121

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101
I NOW, O FRIEND

The calm and certain stay of garden-life,
Far sunk from all the thunderous roar of strife.
There is about the small secluded place
A garnish of old times; a certain grace
Of pensive memories lays about the braes:
The old chestnuts gossip tales of bygone days.
Here, where some wandering preacher, blest Lazil,
Perhaps, or Peden, on the middle hill
Had made his secret church, in rain or snow,
He cheers the chosen residue from woe.
All night the doors stood open, come who might,
The hounded kebbock mat the mud all night.
Nor are there wanting later tales; of how
Prince Charlie's Highlanders ...

  * * * * *

I have had talents, too. In life's first hour
God crowned with benefits my childish head.
Flower after flower, I plucked them; flower by flower
Cast them behind me, ruined, withered, dead.
Full many a shining godhead disappeared.
From the bright rank that once adorned her brow
The old child's Olympus ...

  * * * * *

Gone are the fair old dreams, and one by one,

As, one by one, the means to reach them went,