James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

December 3

To Robert Louis Stevenson

By Herman Knickerbocker Viele (1856–1908)

  • Robert Louis Stevenson died Dec. 3, 1894.

  • THERE is naught that is new, saith the Preacher;

    Death is old,

    Love is cold,

    And the hate of the gods for the creature

    Waxes dull as the æons unfold.

    Who shall find a new gem in the shingle,

    Tempest driven,

    Storm riven,

    Where the foams of the centuries mingle

    And the seekers of jetsam have striven?

    He alone of the searchers, he only,

    In the rift

    Of the drift,

    With torn hands, uncompanioned and lonely,

    Could the pearls from the nothingness sift.

    O finder of infinite treasure!

    For the spoil

    Of thy moil,

    Is it grateful, the respite of leisure

    That comes with the surcease of toil?

    At rest are the tireless fingers

    Which for us

    From the dross

    Picked the marvelous beauty that lingers

    But to tell us anew of our loss.

    Sleep well in thy ocean bound island!

    Sleep and rest

    Clothe thy breast.

    Blow gently, thou gale of the Highland,

    Sigh softly, thou Wind of the West.

    Weep low o’er the bier of thy master,

    Salt breeze

    Of the seas,

    With the sound of thy sport or disaster,

    Disturb not his limitless ease.

    God hath granted thy guerdon, my brother,

    And the head

    Cold and dead,

    Bears the mystical crown and none other,

    And the bays on thy coffin are spread.

    And the tears and the prayers of a planet,

    That start

    From the heart,

    Reach over the distance and span it

    From us to the land where thou art.