The Little Land

- By Robert Louis Stevenson
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Robert Louis Stevenson (born Robert Lewis Balfour Stevenson; 13 November 1850 – 3 December 1894) was a Scottish novelist, essayist, poet and travel writer. He is best known for works such as Treasure Island, Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Kidnapped and A Child's Garden of Verses. Born and educated in Edinburgh, Stevenson suffered from serious bronchial trouble for much of his life, but continued to write prolifically and travel widely in defiance of his poor health. As a young man, he mixed in London literary circles, receiving encouragement from Andrew Lang, Edmund Gosse, Leslie Stephen and W. E. Henley, the last of whom may have provided the model for Long John Silver in Treasure Island. In 1890, he settled in Samoa where, alarmed at increasing European and American influence in the South Sea islands, his writing turned away from romance and adventure toward a darker realism. He died in his island home in 1894.[1]
When at home alone I sit
And am very tired of it,
I have just to shut my eyes
To go sailing through the skies—
To go sailing far away
To the pleasant Land of Play;
To the fairy land afar
Where the Little People are;
Where the clover-tops are trees,
And the rain-pools are the seas,
And the leaves like little ships
Sail about on tiny trips;
And above the daisy tree
Through the grasses,
High overhead the Bumble Bee
Hums and passes.
In that forest to and fro I can wander, I can go;
See the spider and the fly,
And the ants go marching by
Carrying parcels with their feet
Down the green and grassy street
I can in the sorrel sit
Where the ladybird alit.
I can climb the jointed grass; and on high
See the greater swallows pass
In the sky,
And the round sun rolling by
Heeding no such thing as I.
Through the forest I can pass
Till, as in a looking glass,
Humming fly and daisy tree
And my tiny self I see,
Painted very clear and neat
On the rain-pool at my feet.
Should a leaflet come to land
Drifting near to where I stand,
Straight I’ll board that tiny boat
Round the rain-pool sea to float.
Little thoughtful creatures sit
On the grassy coasts of it;
Little things with lovely surprise.
Some are clad in armor green—
(These have sure to battle been!)
Some are pied with every hue,
Black and crimson, gold and blue;
Some have wings and swift are gone;
But they all look kindly on.
When my eyes I once again
Open and see all things plain;
High bare walls, great bare floor;
Great big knobs on drawer and door;
Great big people perched on chairs,
Stitching tucks and mending tears,
Each a hill that I could climb,
And talking nonsense all the time—
O dear me, that I could be
A sailor on the rain-pool sea,
A climber in the clover-tree,
And just come back, a sleepy-head,
Late at night to go to bed.

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Word Lists:

Pied : having two or more different colors

Sorrel : a European plant of the dock family, with arrow-shaped leaves that are used in salads and cooking for their acidic flavor.

Leaflet : a printed sheet of paper, sometimes folded, containing information or advertising and usually distributed free

Tiny : very small

Armor : the metal coverings formerly worn by soldiers or warriors to protect the body in battle

Parcel : a thing or collection of things wrapped in paper in order to be carried or sent by mail

Clad :

Perch : a thing on which a bird alights or roosts, typically a branch or a horizontal rod or bar in a birdcage

Mend : repair (something that is broken or damaged)

Hue : a color or shade


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