Friday, 3 October 2008

Robert Louis Stevenson – “Virginibus puerisque”

Publ: 1881
Rating: ****

It is many years since I first read this series of essays. It was a favourite of Mum’s and one which she regularly quoted.
It would be easy to leave them {children} in their native cloudland, where they figure so prettily - pretty like flowers and innocent like dogs. They will come out of their gardens soon enough, and have to go into offices and the witness-box. Spare them yet a while, O conscientious parent! Let them doze among their playthings yet a little! for who knows what a rough, warfaring existence lies before them in the future?”
"Now, to be properly enjoyed, a walking tour should be gone up[on alone. If you go in a company, or even in pairs, it is no longer a walking tour in anything but name; it is something else and more in the nature of a picnic. A walking tour should be gone upon alone, because freedom is of the essence; because you should be able to stop and go on, and follow this way or that, as the freak takes you; and because you must have your own pace, and neither trot alongside a champion walker, nor mince in time with a girl. And then you must be open to all impressions and let your thoughts take colour from what you see."

An on-line copy of this book can be found in the Classic Literature Library.

Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson (November 13, 1850–December 3, 1894), was a Scottish novelist, poet and travel writer, and a representative of neo-romanticism in English literature. He was the man who "seemed to pick the right word up on the point of his pen, like a man playing spillikins", as G. K. Chesterton put it. Stevenson was greatly admired by many authors, including Jorge Luis Borges, Ernest Hemingway, Rudyard Kipling, Vladimir Nabokov, and J. M. Barrie.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hello folks - your comments are always welcome.