Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE FAMILY: 4, by ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE FAMILY: 4, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Tall as a guardsman, pale as the east at dawn
Last Line: -- and for his music, too, exacts applause.
Alternate Author Name(s): Stevenson, Robert Lewis Balfour
Subject(s): Family Life; Relatives


Tall as a guardsman, pale as the east at dawn,
Who strides in strange apparel on the lawn?
Rails for his breakfast? routs his vassals out
(Like boys escaped from school) with song and shout?
Kind and unkind, his Maker's final freak,
Part we deride the child, part deride the antique!
See where his gang, like frogs, among the dew
Crouch at their duty, an unquiet crew;
Adjust their staring kilts; and their swift eyes
Turn still to him who sits to supervise.
He in the midst, perched on a fallen tree
Eyes them at labour; and, guitar on knee,
Now ministers alarm, now scatters joy,
Now twangs a halting chord -- now tweaks a boy.
Thorough in all, my resolute vizier,
Plays both the despot and the volunteer,
Exacts with fines obedience to my laws,
-- And for his music, too, exacts applause.

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