Tag Archives: Charles Barber

The Land of Story-books

A Monster. Charles Burton Barber. 1866.


The Land of Story-books

Robert Lewis Stevenson, 1913


At evening when the lamp is lit,

Around the fire my parents sit;

They sit at home and talk and sing,

And do not play at anything.


Now, with my little gun I crawl

All in the dark along the wall,

And follow round the forest track

Away behind the sofa back.


There, in the night, where none can spy,

All in my hunter’s camp I lie,

And play at books that I have read

Till it is time to go to bed.


These are the hills, these are the woods,

These are my starry solitudes;

And there the river by whose brink

The roaring lions come to drink.


I see the others far away

As if in firelit camp they lay,

And I, like to an Indian scout,

Around their party prowled about.


So, when my nurse comes in for me,

Home I return across the sea,

And go to bed with backward looks

At my dear land of Story-books.


A Fine Picture—Barber’s playful painting illustrates Stevenson’s poem with a twist.—A little girl enacts the role of the “roaring lion” rather than that of the hunter.

A Little Poetry—Stevenson’s poems for children, published as A Child’s Garden of Verses, are remarkable for their sensitive understanding of a child’s imaginative play.