Poetry Lovers' Page - Robert Louis Stevenson: "The Old Chimaeras, Old Receipts"
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Robert Louis Stevenson

Robert Louis Stevenson

"The Old Chimaeras, Old Receipts"

The old Chimaeras, old receipts
For making "happy land,"
The old political beliefs
Swam close before my hand.

The grand old communistic myths
In a middle state of grace,
Quite dead, but not yet gone to Hell,
And walking for a space,

Quite dead, and looking it, and yet
All eagerness to show
The Social-Contract forgeries
By Chatterton - Rousseau -

A hundred such as these I tried,
And hundreds after that,
I fitted Social Theories
As one would fit a hat!

Full many a marsh-fire lured me on,
I reached at many a star,
I reached and grasped them and behold -
The stump of a cigar!

All through the sultry sweltering day
The sweat ran down my brow,
The still plains heard my distant strokes
That have been silenced now.

This way and that, now up, now down,
I hailed full many a blow.
Alas! beneath my weary arm
The thicket seemed to grow.

I take the lesson, wipe my brow
And throw my axe aside,
And, sorely wearied, I go home
In the tranquil eventide.

And soon the rising moon, that lights
The eve of my defeat,
Shall see me sitting as of yore
By my old master's feet.

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