Robert Louis Stevenson: A Memorial

Letters And Poems In Testimony
AMONG many letters received by me in acknowledgment of, or in commentary on, my
little tributes to R. L. Stevenson, in various journals and magazines, I find the following,
which I give here for reasons purely personal, and because my readers may with me, join
in admiration of the fancy, grace and beauty of the poems. I must preface the first poem
by a letter, which explains the genesis of the poem, and relates a striking and very
touching incident:
1ST MARCH 1895.
"DEAR SIR, - As you have written so much about your friend, the late Robert Louis
Stevenson, and quoted many tributes to his genius from contemporary writers, I take the
liberty of sending you herewith some verses of mine which appeared in THE WEEKLY
SUN of November last. I sent a copy of these verses to Samoa, but unfortunately the
great novelist died before they reached it. I have, however, this week, received a little
note from Mrs Strong, which runs as follows:
"'Your poem of "Greeting" came too late. I can only thank you by sending a little moss
that I plucked from a tree overhanging his grave on Vaea Mountain.'
"I trust you will appreciate my motive in sending you the poem. I do not wish to obtrude
my claims as a verse-writer upon your notice, but I thought the incident I have recited
would be interesting to one who is so devoted a collector of Stevensoniana. -
Respectfully yours,
F. J. COX."
We, pent in cities, prisoned in the mart,
Can know you only as a man apart,
But ever-present through your matchless art.
You have exchanged the old, familiar ways
For isles, where, through the range of splendid days,
Her treasure Nature lavishly displays.
There, by the gracious sweep of ampler seas,
That swell responsive to the odorous breeze.
You have the wine of Life, and we the lees!