Robert Louis Stevenson > A Child’s Garden of Verses and Underwoods > XXVIII. To My Father
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Stevenson, Robert Louis (1850–1894).  A Child’s Garden of Verses and Underwoods.  1913.
  
XXVIII. To My Father

PEACE and her huge invasion to these shores 
Puts daily home; innumerable sails 
Dawn on the far horizon and draw near; 
Innumerable loves, uncounted hopes 
To our wild coasts, not darkling now, approach:         5
Not now obscure, since thou and thine art there, 
And bright on the lone isle, the foundered reef, 
The long, resounding foreland, Pharos stands. 
  
These are thy works, O father, these thy crown; 
Whether on high the air be pure, they shine  10
Along the yellowing sunset, and all night 
Among the unnumbered stars of God they shine; 
Or whether fogs arise and far and wide 
The low sea-level drown—each finds a tongue 
And all night long the tolling bell resounds:  15
So shine, so toll, till night be overpast, 
Till the stars vanish, till the sun return, 
And in the haven rides the fleet secure. 
  
In the first hour, the seaman in his skiff 
Moves through the unmoving bay, to where the town  20
Its earliest smoke into the air upbreathes 
And the rough hazels climb along the beach. 
To the tugg’d oar the distant echo speaks. 
The ship lies resting, where by reef and roost 
Thou and thy lights have led her like a child.  25
  
This hast thou done, and I—can I be base? 
I must arise, O father, and to port 
Some lost, complaining seaman pilot home. 

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