Robert Louis Stevenson > A Child’s Garden of Verses and Underwoods > XXXVII. “My body which my dungeon is”
Stevenson, Robert Louis (1850–1894).  A Child’s Garden of Verses and Underwoods.  1913.
XXXVII. “My body which my dungeon is”

MY body which my dungeon is, 
And yet my parks and palaces:— 
  Which is so great that there I go 
All the day long to and fro, 
And when the night begins to fall         5
Throw down my bed and sleep, while all 
The buildings hum with wakefulness— 
Even as a child of savages 
When evening takes her on her way, 
(She having roamed a summer’s day  10
Along the mountain-sides and scalp) 
Sleep in an antre of that alp:— 
  Which is so broad and high that there, 
As in the topless fields of air, 
My fancy soars like to a kite  15
And faints in the blue infinite:— 
  Which is so strong, my strongest throes 
And the rough world’s besieging blows 
Not break it, and so weak withal, 
Death ebbs and flows in its loose wall  20
As the green sea in fishers’ nets, 
And tops its topmost parapets:— 
  Which is so wholly mine that I 
Can wield its whole artillery, 
And mine so little, that my soul  25
Dwells in perpetual control, 
And I but think and speak and do 
As my dead fathers move me to:— 
  If this born body of my bones 
The beggared soul so barely owns,  30
What money passed from hand to hand, 
What creeping custom of the land, 
What deed of author or assign, 
Can make a house a thing of mine? 



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