- TRUSTY, dusky, vivid, true,
- With eyes of gold and bramble-dew,
- Steel-true and blade-straight,
- The great artificer
- Made my mate.
- Honour, anger, valour, fire;
- A love that life could never tire,
- Death quench or evil stir,
- The mighty master
- Gave to her.
- Teacher, tender, comrade, wife,
- A fellow-farer true through life,
- Heart-whole and soul-free
- The august father
- Gave to me.
Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)
Scottish essayist, poet, and author of fiction and travel books Stevenson is best known for his novels Treasure Island
(1886) and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
From his Songs of Travel and Other Verses (1896) Stevenson lists the virtues of his wife in this piece whom he much very much adored. He travelled widely in Europe and the United States; his wife, Fanny Osborne was an independent American ‘new woman’, separated from her husband and with two children. They met shortly after he finished writing An Inland Voyage (1878) in September 1876 at Grez, a riverside village south-east of Paris. Two years later she decided to obtain a divorce. He was twenty-five, and she was thirty-six when they married in 1880 and her recounting of their travels together as well as a biography by his step son, Lance Osborne are touching depictions of their vagabond lifestyle.
Stevenson and his family eventually travelled to the Pacific where he spent the last four years of his life with Fanny at his side during a long debilitating illness from tuberculosis in Tahiti. He was buried at the top of Mount Vaea above his home on Samoa.
Bram, Robert Philips, Norma H. Dicky, "Stevenson,Robert Louis", Funk & Wagnalls New Encyclopedia , 1988.
Public domain text taken from The Poets’ Corner: