The One and Only Robert Louis Stevenson

Hanisha Bains

English 9- Period 8

Mr. Turner

October, 12, 2011



Warning! This essay may be too informative for you to handle. In this essay, you will learn about who Robert Louis Stevenson is, his personal life and his poetry in general. Also included within this poem is, one of his poems and my interpretation of this poem. Towards the end of this essay you will be one educated little Einstein, and will be get to know all about one of the greatest poets ever to exist.

Although Robert Louis Stevenson had not won any awards or received any major recognition for his work, he is indeed a very strong poet. He was born in 1850 and is of Scottish background. Prior to deciding to become a poet/writer he studied many different things at the Edinburgh University. He started off with engineering, after abandoning this he then began learning law, although he did complete this, he then altered his decision and settled as a poet. His first poem ever to be published was “An Inland Voyage”. Stevenson poems were often categorized as essays, romance, travel, biography, short stories, novels, and plays.

Robert adopted many styles of writing. The lengths consisting in his poems are not a particular length instead the lengths range from size. Most poems by this author are about travel and romance, but the form in which he writes varies. The poems are very descriptive probably in attempt to create visual images within the readers mind. The language used is often very understandable but the reader does come across words unfamiliar. It is at times difficult to understand what the author is intending. There are quite a few poems written from child’s perspective and aren’t usually in rhythm.


“I should like to rise and go

Where the golden apples grow;

Where below another sky

Parrot islands anchored lie,

And, watched by cockatoos and goats,

Lonely Crusoes building boats;

Where in sunshine reaching out

Eastern cities, miles about,

Are with mosque and minaret

Among sandy gardens set,

And the rich goods from near and far

Hang for sale in the bazaar;

Where the Great Wall round China goes,

And on one side the desert blows,

And with bell and voice and drum,

Cities on the other hum;

Where are forests, hot as fire,

Wide as England, tall as a spire,

Full of apes and cocoa-nuts

And the negro hunters ‘huts;

Where the knotty crocodile

Lies and blinks in the Nile,

And the red flamingo flies

Hunting fish before his eyes;

Where in jungles, near and far,

Man-devouring tigers are,

Lying close and giving ear

Lest the hunt be drawing near,

Or a comer-by be seen

Swinging in a palanquin;

Where among the desert sands

Some deserted city stands,

All its children, sweep and prince,

Grown to manhood ages since,

Not a foot in street or house,

Not a stir of child or mouse,

And when kindly falls the night,

In all the town no spark of light.

There I’ll come when I’m a man

With a camel caravan;

Light a fire in the gloom

Of some dusty dining-room;

See the pictures on the walls,

Heroes, fights and festivals;

And in a corner find the toys

Of the old Egyptian boys.

–          Robert Louis Stevenson

Selected Poems, 2003

Many people assume that it is necessary for a poem to have a formal message to the readers, but I think that this poem is different. This poem isn’t a life’s lessen, but instead a poem about what  he personally wants to experience, it’s about travel, and he describes exquisite places around the world. Although it does not include any rhythm, he uses a lot of similes and metaphors in attempt to create images within the readers mind and make it descriptive, by the words chosen and the description used, you can tell that. He also uses a lot of vivid language and emphasises the geography.  He has indeed included different types of geographies such as the “great wall of china”, “sun-drenched islands”, “tropical islands” and such. In the first line of the poem it suggest “he should like”, I’m not entirely sure what the author is trying to convey but I begin to guess that the authors feels he is different from most people, unlike others, but towards the end of the poem he starts opening up, revealing what he wants and how’s he is different. This poem is most likely written from a child’s perspective, as from the 8th line from the bottom it states that he is a child and not yet a grown man (“There I’ll come when I’m a man”).

Now that you have read about Robert Louis Stevenson, you just may agree with the fact that this poetry is the most original and greatest poetry you have ever come across yet. What makes his poetry original is probably the sophistication in his language that helps emphasize the detail of the places he is describing in the above poem. I hope that the readers feel the same way that I have, and understand how he differs from other poets.


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