Two summer poems from Robert Louis Stevenson: Scottish poet and novelist of Treasure Island and Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Summer Sun and Bed in Summer

  • Summer Sun
  • Great is the sun, and wide he goes 
  • Through empty heaven with repose; 
  • And in the blue and glowing days 
  • More thick than rain he showers his rays. 
  • Though closer still the blinds we pull 
  • To keep the shady parlor cool, 
  • Yet he will find a chink or two 
  • To slip his golden fingers through. 
  • The dusty attic spider-clad 
  • He, through the keyhole, maketh glad; 
  • And through the broken edge of tiles 
  • Into the laddered hay-loft smiles.
  • Meantime his golden face around 
  • He bares to all the garden ground, 
  • And sheds a warm and glittering look 
  • Among the ivy’s inmost nook.
  • Above the hills, along the blue, 
  • Round the bright air with footing true, 
  • To please the child, to paint the rose, 
  • The gardener of the World, he goes. 
  • Bed in Summer
  • In winter I get up at night
  • And dress by yellow candle-light.
  • In summer quite the other way,
  • I have to go to bed by day.
  • I have to go to bed and see
  • The birds still hopping on the tree,
  • Or hear the grown-up people’s feet
  • Still going past me in the street.
  • And does it not seem hard to you,
  • When all the sky is clear and blue,
  • And I should like so much to play,
  • To have to go to bed by day?

Robert Louis Stevenson

Robert Louis Stevenson

Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) was a Scottish novelist and poet, whose novels Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, are among the most popular in English literature. He is also known for his volume of verse, A Child’s Garden of Verses, in which the above selections appear. His fiction has had a wide appeal among young people – and a strong case can be made for Stevenson being the forerunner of youth fiction. His verse, accessible and colorful, also remains popular among parents and children – especially those among the latter who have suffered the perennial indignity of being sent to bed before the late summer sun has set.

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