Robert Louis Stevenson
Trusty, dusky, vivid, true,
With eyes of gold and bramble-dew,
Steel-true and blade-straight,
The great artificer
Made my mate.
Honour, anger, valour, fire;
A love that life could never tire,
Death quench or evil stir,
The mighty master
Gave to her.
Teacher, tender, comrade, wife,
A fellow-farer true through life,
Heart-whole and soul-free
The august father
Gave to me.
Ever since I discovered Robert Louis Stevenson's poetry during one lonely Long Vacation a few years ago (a discovery which can be helpfully charted via this blog here and here) I've kept a file of my favourites among his poems, for the purpose of posting them. This one is the last remaining, which I suppose tells you it's the least favourite of my favourites. That's not because I don't think it's as lovely as the others but because I find it so hard to believe that any man has ever loved a woman for the qualities described here: 'honour, anger, valour, fire', particularly. Nice thought, but...
However, Stevenson was an unusual man in lots of ways - perhaps this was one of them.