Home  »  library  »  poem  »  To Will. H. Low

C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

To Will. H. Low

By Robert Louis Stevenson (1850–1894)

From ‘Poems and Ballads’

YOUTH now flees on feathered foot,

Faint and fainter sounds the flute,

Rarer songs of gods; and still

Somewhere on the sunny hill,

Or along the winding stream,

Through the willows, flits a dream;

Flits, but shows a smiling face,

Flees, but with so quaint a grace,

Nor can choose to stay at home—

All must follow, all must roam.

This is unborn beauty: she

Now in air floats high and free,

Takes the sun and breaks the blue;—

Late with stooping pinion flew

Raking hedgerow trees, and wet

Her wing in silver streams, and set

Shining foot on temple roof:

Now again she flies aloof,

Coasting mountain clouds and kist

By the evening’s amethyst.

In wet wood and miry lane,

Still we pant and pound in vain;

Still with leaden foot we chase

Waning pinion, fainting face;

Still with gray hair we stumble on,

Till, behold, the vision gone!

Where hath fleeting beauty led?

To the doorway of the dead.

Life is over, life was gay:

We have come the primrose way.