Requiem – Robert Louis Stevenson

Requiem
Under the wide and starry sky, 
Dig the grave and let me lie.
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.
This be the verse you grave for me:
Here he lies where he longed to be;
Home is the sailor, home from sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.
Robert Louis Stevenson (1850 – 1894)

Requiem – an act or token of remembrance

Robert Louis Stevenson was born in Edinburgh, Scotland and was a sick child and lived with a debilitating bronchial illness for much of his life. In his last four years he lived in Samoa where he died at the early age of forty-four. And these are the lines he wanted on his grave – this be the verse you grave for me. Grave meaning to be indelibly written. So grave takes on a double meaning. And they are on his tomb at Mount Vaea, Samoa.

He was near death before when he was in California where he first thought out these lines. The last lines have become the most memorable.

He was glad to die at the same time equally pleased with his life – glad did I live and gladly die.

Looking at the last two poignant lines –

Home is the sailor, home from sea, 
And the hunter home from the hill.

Death is home and all that home represents a lasting place of convivial comfort. And like the sailor coming home to land after being at sea. Sea being equated to life. The sailor and the sea go together in the same way as being human and living. And it is a positive thought equating death to returning home. A sailor obviously comes home many times so return is appropriate. And RLS is returning.

And in the hunter home from the hill RLS equates life to hunting. There is a hill involved so there is difficulty to overcome in coming back with a catch. He is happy with his catch; what he has achieved in life and the difficulties he has overcome.

All the best in your hunting!

Robert Louis Stevenson on Wikipedia Robert Louis Stevenson – Wikipedia

And for a detailed analysis of this poem –

Analysis of Requiem by Robert Louis Stevenson – Poemotopia

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