Today is a celebration of the birth of travel writer, essayist, poet & novelist, Robert Lewis Balfour Stevenson. Born 13th November 1850 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Most famous for his novels, Treasure Island, Kidnapped & The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde; Stevenson was also an accomplished poet.
Born into a family of devout Presbyterian's, his father was a leading lighthouse engineer and son of Robert Stevenson, the famed designer and builder of lighthouses. Stevenson was an only child and his strange looks and eccentric behavior in childhood often made it hard for him to fit in, coupled with his tendency to illness in cold weather, meant that he was prone to long absences from school; he spent most of his time in the hands of a private tutor.
Although Stevenson was a late reader, he often dictated stories to his mother and these stories brought great interest from his own father. Robert's father openly encouraged them, having been slighted by his own father when he was told to "give up such nonsense and mind your business" squelching an interest in writing.
In 1867, Stevenson was to enter the University of Edinburgh to study engineering, but he had no love for this and would devote much of his time to avoiding lectures. Writing was in his blood, and prominent at this time was his relationship with his cousin, Robert Alan Mowbray Stevenson, who had turned his back on the family profession to chose the study of art.
Through the years, and his constant struggle with ill health during cold spells, Stevenson settled in warmer areas. Southern England, France & America were often popular destinations. After a trip in 1888 to the Pacific, he fell in love with this area. It was in Hawaii that he met the actual Dr Hyde, a Presbyterian Minister working in Honolulu.
In 1890, he settled in Upolu, one of the Samoan Islands. It was here, at the age of 44, that he died on the 3rd December, 1894. Having enjoyed a meal with his wife he was to exclaim, "Whats that? Does my face look strange?" Before collapsing and dying a few hours later of a cerebral hemorrhage. Such was the respect held for him by the Samoan Islanders that they surrounded him with a watch guard during the night before carrying him on their shoulders to Mount Vaea to be buried overlooking the sea.
Robert Louis Stevenson is best known for his novels, Kidnapped, Adventure Island, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde, The Master of Ballantree, The Black Arrow, short stories such as The Body Snatchers and many more but it is his poetry that I wish to celebrate today;
Stevenson was a prolific poet who also wrote two series, A Child's Garden of Verses (1885) & Underwoods (1887). The poetry that I wish to share with you today is a random selection of his work that I hope you will enjoy.
One Stop brings you the poetry of Robert Louis Stevenson, 1850 - 1894