Dedicatory Poem For "Underwoods"
TO her, for I must still regard her
by Robert Louis Stevenson
As feminine in her degree,
Who has been my unkind bombarder
Year after year, in grief and glee,
Year after year, with oaken tree;
And yet betweenwhiles my laudator
In terms astonishing to me -
To the Right Reverend The Spectator
I here, a humble dedicator,
Bring the last apples from my tree.
In tones of love, in tones of warning,
She hailed me through my brief career;
And kiss and buffet, night and morning,
Told me my grandmamma was near;
Whether she praised me high and clear
Through her unrivalled circulation,
Or, sanctimonious insincere,
She damned me with a misquotation -
A chequered but a sweet relation,
Say, was it not, my granny dear?
Believe me, granny, altogether
Yours, though perhaps to your surprise.
Oft have you spruced my wounded feather,
Oft brought a light into my eyes -
For notice still the writer cries.
In any civil age or nation,
The book that is not talked of dies.
So that shall be my termination:
Whether in praise or execration,
Still, if you love me, criticise!