Scottish Poetry Selection
- Consolation

Robert Louis Stevenson's poem of consolation for a time when someone near and dear passes on, provides encouragement by suggesting that thy are really just a few steps ahead of us - and that we will catch up with them, eventually.


Though he that ever kind and true
Kept stoutly step by step with you
Your whole long gusty lifetime through,
    Be gone awhile before,
Be now a moment gone before,
Yet, doubt not, soon the seasons shall restore
    Your friend to you.

He has but turned a corner. Still
He pushes on with right good will,
Through mire and marsh, by heugh and hill,
    That self-same arduous way,
That self-same upland, hopeful way
That you and he through many a doubtful day
    Attempted still.

He is not dead, this friend - not dead,
But in the path we mortals tread
Got some few trifling steps ahead
    And nearer to the end;
So that you too, once past the bend,
Shall meet again, as face to face, this friend
    You fancy dead.

Push gaily on, strong heart! The while
You travel forward mile by mile,
He loiters with a backward smile
    Till you can overtake,
And strains his eyes to search his wake,
Or whistling, as he sees you through the brake,
    Waits on a stile.

Meaning of unusual words:
heugh = cliff
brake = thicket

Return to the Index of Scottish Poetry Selection

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