The Dumb Soldier

Robert Louis Stevenson 1850 (Edinburgh) – 1894 (Vailima, Samoa)



When the grass was closely mown,
Walking on the lawn alone,
In the turf a hole I found
And hid a soldier underground.

Spring and daisies came apace;
Grasses hid my hiding-place;
Grasses run like a green sea
O'er the lawn up to my knee.

Under grass alone he lies,
Looking up with leaden eyes,
Scarlet coat and pointed gun,
To the stars and to the sun.

When the grass is ripe like grain,
When the scythe is stoned again,
When the lawn is shaven clear,
Then my hole shall reappear.

I shall find him, never fear,
I shall find my grenadier;
But, for all that's gone and come,
I shall find my soldier dumb.

He has lived, a little thing,
In the grassy woods of spring;
Done, if he could tell me true,
Just as I should like to do.

He has seen the starry hours
And the springing of the flowers;
And the fairy things that pass
In the forests of the grass.

In the silence he has heard
Talking bee and ladybird,
And the butterfly has flown
O'er him as he lay alone.

Not a word will he disclose,
Not a word of all he knows.
I must lay him on the shelf,
And make up the tale myself.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on March 05, 2023

1:05 min read
87

Quick analysis:

Scheme AABB CCXA DDAA AAEE EEFF GGHH IIJJ KKAA LLMM
Closest metre Iambic tetrameter
Characters 1,049
Words 214
Stanzas 9
Stanza Lengths 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4

Robert Louis Stevenson

Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson was a Scottish novelist, poet, essayist, and travel writer. more…

All Robert Louis Stevenson poems | Robert Louis Stevenson Books

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