Robert Louis Stevenson > A Child’s Garden of Verses and Underwoods > 8. Armies in the Fire
Stevenson, Robert Louis (1850–1894).  A Child’s Garden of Verses and Underwoods.  1913.
8. Armies in the Fire

THE LAMPS now glitter down the street; 
Faintly sound the falling feet; 
And the blue even slowly falls 
About the garden trees and walls. 
Now in the falling of the gloom         5
The red fire paints the empty room: 
And warmly on the roof it looks, 
And flickers on the backs of books. 
Armies march by tower and spire 
Of cities blazing, in the fire;—  10
Till as I gaze with staring eyes, 
The armies fade, the lustre dies. 
Then once again the glow returns; 
Again the phantom city burns; 
And down the red-hot valley, lo!  15
The phantom armies marching go! 
Blinking embers, tell me true 
Where are those armies marching to, 
And what the burning city is 
That crumbles in your furnaces!  20



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