Skip to main content

Full text of "Selected Essays Of Robert Louis Stevenson"

See other formats

JN U'JLHS                                             131

Lexicographer. Samuel Johnson undertook his celebrated jour-
ney to the Hebrides in 1773 at the age of sixty-four,

mim-mouthed, prim, demure.

and, after all. The reader should compare the splendid optimism
of this passage with Browning's Prospice*


Stevenson, as Andrew Lang remarked, was * always a boy at
heart,' and his insight into the child's mind and imagination, with
all its pathos and humour, is nowhere better displayed than in
this inimitable essay. It should be compared with k The Lantern-
Bearers ' and ' A Penny Plain and Twopence Coloured.' The same
spirit shines brightly in A Child's Garden of Verses and in Treasure
Island, Catriona and Kidnapped,

Art for art. ' Art for art's sake.' Stevenson pokes fun at the
motto of the ' Aesthetic * School.

Flaubert, the author of the famous realistic novel of French
life, Madame Bovary (1857). Gautier wrote the equally celebrated
Mademoiselle de Mauphi (1835).

Thespian.    Thespis was the traditional founder of Greek Drama.

Nain.    St. Luke vii. 11-16.



The c great god Pan,' the subject of this exquisite Arcadian
fantasy, is the * all God,' the god of Nature. He is represented in
Greek mythology as having a goat's feet and horns, symbolizing
the ' unity of Nature.' He plays upon Ms pipes of reed, the syrinx,
while the nymphs and satyrs dance around him. His music is the
voice of Nature, now beneficent, now terrible, and he spreads panic
among his foes when aroused to anger.

Attila, the w scourge of God' (c. 433 A.C.), King of the Huns,
who plundered the Roman Empire to the gates of the Imperial

Hamlet.     Imperial Caesar dead and turned to clay
May stop a hole to keep the dust away.

Hamlet, v. i.

Hell's squibs. A similar sentiment runs through " Pulvis et

fire ol Rome. According to a popular legend, the Emperor
Nero, having set Rome on fire, sat and played on Ms fiddle as he
watched the city burning.


This and the two following essays are reminiscences of Steven-
son's boyhood. The first is an incomparable picture of the Pent-
land Shepherd, the lynx-eyed, stentorian-throated John Todd,