Stevenson: “Fears to Keep and Courage to Share.”

Prolific writer, novelist, and poet Robert Stevenson (13 Nov 1850–3 Dec 1894) rowed just behind Charles Dickens. Chronic pain of bronchitis from ancestral decease made not only Robert weak heart but his sister as well. He was a great lover of travel, in rebelliousness of his bad health. He had to keep away himself from cold weather. His work is famous among the children, poem “Autumn Fire” (available publicly) is one of the poems from his book “A Child’s Garden of Verses in 1885

The world is so full of a number of things, I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings.

Robert Louis Stevenson


“A Child’s Garden of Verses is a book of poetry for children. Stevenson dedicated the poems to his nurse Cummy (Alison Cunningham), who cared for him during his many childhood illnesses. The collection includes some of Stevenson’s most famous poems, including “The Land of Counterpane”, “My Shadow and “The Lamplighter”. Many of the poems describe the imaginative life of the child. In “Pirate Story”, for example, the garden becomes the setting for a pirate adventure. “The Land of Nod” describes the dream land that children can only visit when they are asleep.

Some poems, particularly those in “The Child Alone” section evoke the loneliness of being young, ill and without companions (certainly Stevenson was here remembering his own childhood). Children in these poems (for example “The Unseen Playmate”. “My Ship and I”, and “My Kingdom”) use their imaginations to entertain themselves, rather than the company of a friend.

Poems in the “Garden Days” section of the collection are concerned with nature and the seasons. Other poems in the book are moral reminders to children. For example, “Good and Bad Children” warns that children who behave badly will be disliked as adults.

The “Envoys” section of poetry consists of poems dedicated to Stevenson’s friends and family, particularly those who he spent time with at Colinton Manse when he was a child. His experiences at the manse playing in the garden inspired many of the poems in the collection.

In the last poem of the collection, “To Any Reader”, Stevenson reminds his readers that all children eventually grow up, and that these poems are memories of a time that has past. This poem also shows that A Child’s Garden of Verses is not just a book for children, but addresses adult themes like loss and loneliness. Continue reading >>

Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others.

Robert Louis Stevenson

Poem: “Autumn Fires” by Robert Louis Stevenson

In the other gardens
And all up the vale,
From the autumn bonfires
See the smoke trail!

Pleasant summer over
And all the summer flowers,
The red fire blazes,
The grey smoke towers.

Sing a song of seasons!
Something bright in all!
Flowers in the summer,
Fires in the fall!

Read all the poems of Robert free.