Robert Louis Stevenson' s Poem in Portsmouth Square : LUSENET : San Francisco History : One Thread

Does anyone know the name of the poem that appears on the monument to Robert Louis Stevenson in Portsmouth Square in Chinatown?

-- Phil Cronan (JUDYSPHIL@AOL.COM), August 29, 1998


According to The Headlight, May 1947, it is a quotation from Stevenson's "Christmas Sermon."

-- Ron Filion (, September 06, 1998.

I don't have an answer for your question but instead have a question of my own. A friend of mine told me that he had learned and loved a quote from an essay by Robert Louis Stevenson. The name of the essay was, I believe, 'E Pluribus Unum'. It began something like "Our rotatory island, scudding at unimaginable speed..." and also has a line about the earth showing its cheeks to a sun 93 million miles away. I wish I could remember more or locate it somewhere. Can you help? Any ideas? Thanks.

-- (, December 23, 2001.


You are asking about Robert Louis Stevenson's Across The Plains- The full text can be found here:

The portion you refer to is found in Chapter XI. Meanwhile our rotatory island loaded with predatory life, and more drenched with blood, both animal and vegetable, than ever mutinied ship, scuds through space with unimaginable speed, and turns alternate cheeks to the reverberation of a blazing world, ninety million miles away.


-- Carolyn Feroben (, December 24, 2001.

my apologies . . . I have a question but no answer. Has anyone heard of a poem by RLS titled "A Christmas At Sea"? Thanks in advance,

Al Cormack

-- allan cormack (, March 03, 2002.

Christmas At Sea Robert Louis Stevenson

The sheets were frozen hard, and they cut the naked hand; The decks were like a slide, where a seaman scarce could stand, The wind was a nore-wester, blowing squally off the sea; And cliffs and spouting breakers were the only things a-lee.

They heard the surf a-roaring before the break of day; But twas only with the peep of light we saw how ill we lay. We tumbled every hand on deck instanter, with a shout, And we gave her the maintopsel, and stood by to go about.

All day we tacked and tacked between the South Head and the North; All day we hauled the frozen sheets, and got no further forth; All day as cold as charity, in bitter pain and dread, For very life and nature we tacked from head to head.

We gave the South a wider berth, for there the tide-race roared; But every tack we made we brought the North Head close aboard; Soes we saw the cliffs and houses, and the breakers running high, And the coastguard in his garden with his glass against his eye.

The frost was on the village roofs as white as ocean foam; The good red fires were burning bright in every longshore home; The windows sparkled clear, and the chimneys volleyed out; And I vow we sniffed the victuals as the vessel went about.

The bells upon the church were rung with a mighty jovial cheer; For its just that I should tell you how (of all days of the year) This day of our adversity was blessed Christmas morn, And the house above the coastguards was the house where I was born.

O well I saw the pleasant room, the pleasant faces there, My mothers silver spectacles, my fathers silver hair; And well I saw the firelight, like a flight of homely elves Go dancing round the china-plates that stand upon the shelves!

An well I knew the talk they had, the talk that was of me, Of the shadow on the household and the son that went to sea; An O the wicked fool I seemed, in every kind of way, To be here and hauling frozen ropes on blessed Christmas Day. They lit the high sea-light, and the dark began to fall. All hands to loose topgallant sails! I heard the captain call. By the Lord, she'll never stand it, our first mate Jackson cried. . . . It's the one way or the other, Mr. Jackson, he replied.

She staggered to her bearings, but the sails were new and good, And the ship smelt up to windward just as though she understood. As the winters day was ending, in the entry of the night, We cleared the weary headland, and passed below the light.

And they heaved a mighty breath, every soul on board but me, As they saw her nose again pointing handsome out to sea; But all that I could think of, in the darkness and the cold, Was just that I was leaving home and my folks were growing old.

-- PVerge (, June 07, 2002.

this is a question about the poem entitled "the careful angler" writtej by robert louis stevenson. the analysis in terms of setting,time, imagery, pilosofi and so forth.

-- suradiasa (, December 04, 2002.

i want analysis poem "the wind" stevenson

-- shereenhaj (, January 05, 2004.

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