The text of the poem was transcribed, edited, and converted to HTML by Philip V. Allingham, Contributing Editor, Victorian Web; Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Ontario.
Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson died suddenly on 3 December 1894 at Vailima on the island of Samoa. On his grave, as he directed, are the lines from "Requiem," No. 21 in Underwoods, Book One: In English (1890).
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. (Hyères, May, 1884)
The Poem set to Music
- Composed and sung by Otto Plöckinger, PhD, Salzburg Austria
Date of the Poem
Contrary to dating in the manuscript, the first draft of the poem was composed in 1880, when Stevenson, who had gone to San Francisco, California, to marry Fanny Osbourne, took ill. According Janet Adam Smith's notes, in February, 1880, Stevenson wrote to Colvin [sic] regarding his tomb and its inscription:
ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON BORN 1850, OF A FAMILY OF ENGINEERS, DIED .................................................................... 'NITOR AQUIS' HOME IS THE SAILOR, HOME FROM SEA, [sic] AND THE HUNTER HOME FROM THE HILL.
According to Smith,
A facsimile of the manuscript of another version was reproduced in the Grolier Club's First Editions of the Works of Robert Louis Stevenson, 1915. The poem is undated, and numbered XXI. It has three verses; the first and third are the first and second of the Underwoods version, and the second runs:
>Here may the winds about me blow; Here the clouds may come and go; Here shall be rest for evermo, And the heart for aye shall be still.
Smith, Janet Adam, ed. Robert Louis Stevenson Collected Poems. London: Rupert Hart-Davis, 1950. Pages 130, and 477-79.
Last modified 30 October 2006