A Child's Garden of Verses (1885)
Robert Louis Stevenson
Then the bright lamp is carried in,
The sunless hours again begin;
O'er all without, in field and lane,
The haunted night returns again.
Now we behold the embers flee
About the firelit hearth; and see
Our faces painted as we pass,
Like pictures, on the window glass.
Must we to bed indeed? Well then,
Let us arise and go like men,
And face with an undaunted tread
The long black passage up to bed.
Farewell, O brother, sister, sire!
O pleasant party round the fire!
The songs you sing, the tales you tell,
Till far to-morrow, fare you well!
All around the house is the jet-black night;
It stares through the window-pane;
It crawls in the corners, hiding from the light,
And it moves with the moving flame.
Now my little heart goes a beating like a drum,
With the breath of the Bogies in my hair;
And all around the candle and the crooked shadows come,
And go marching along up the stair.
The shadow of the balusters, the shadow of the lamp,
The shadow of the child that goes to bed--
All the wicked shadows coming tramp, tramp, tramp,
With the black night overhead.
Last, to the chamber where I lie
My fearful footsteps patter nigh,
And come out from the cold and gloom
Into my warm and cheerful room.
There, safe arrived, we turn about
To keep the coming shadows out,
And close the happy door at last
On all the perils that we past.
Then, when mamma goes by to bed,
She shall come in with tip-toe tread,
And see me lying warm and fast
And in the land of Nod at last.
Public domain text taken from The Poets’ Corner: