The Little Land

The Titan's Goblet. Thomas Cole. 1833.


The Little Land

Robert Lewis Stevenson, 1913


When at home alone I sit

And am very tired of it,

I have just to shut my eyes

To go sailing through the skies—

To go sailing far away

To the Pleasant Land of Play;

To the fairy-land afar

Where the Little People are;

Where the clover tops are trees,

And the rain-pools are the seas,

And the leaves like little ships

Sail about on tiny trips;

And above the daisy tree

Through the grasses,

High o’erhead the Bumble Bee

Hums and passes.


In that forest to and fro

I can wander, I can go;

See the spider and the fly,

And the ants go marching by

Carrying parcels with their feet

Down the green and grassy street.

I can in the sorrel sit

Where the ladybird alit.

I can climb the jointed grass

And on high

See the greater swallows pass

In the sky,

And the round sun rolling by

Heeding no such things as I.


Through that forest I can pass

Till, as in a looking-glass,

Humming fly and daisy tree

And my tiny self I see,

Painted very clear and neat

On the rain-pool at my feet.

Should a leaflet come to land

Drifting near to where I stand,

Straight I’ll board that tiny boat

Round the rain-pool sea to float.


Little thoughtful creatures sit

On the grassy coasts of it;

Little things with lovely eyes

See me sailing with surprise.

Some are clad in armor green—

(These have sure to battle been!)—

Some are pied with ev’ry hue,

Black and crimson, gold and blue;

Some have wings and swift are gone;—

But they all look kindly on.


When my eyes I once again

Open, and see all things plain:

High bare walls, great bare floor;

Great big knobs on drawer and door;

Great big people perched on chairs,

Stitching tucks and mending tears,

Each a hill that I could climb,

And talking nonsense all the time—

O dear me,

That I could be

A sailor on the rain-pool sea,

A climber in the clover tree,

And just come back, a sleepy-head,

Late at night to go to bed.

2 thoughts on “The Little Land”

  1. I love this painting! It has such beautiful romantic imagery.

    The poem is a very lovely, playful thing that makes me long to venture the land of Little People.

    1. “The Little Land” is one of my favorite poems from “A Child’s Garden of Verses.” Stevenson writes with such understanding and sympathy for children’s play and imagination.

      Thank you for commenting, Fiona!

Comments are closed.