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Ad Nepotem by Robert Louis Stevenson  Ad Nepotem VWP page

I found the uncompleted poem “Ad Nepotem” by Robert Louis Stevenson in his “New Poems” - 1918 edition, published posthumously.  I loved this little wine poem, where Stevenson is advising a good neighbor concerning his friend's folly of giving up wine because of the presence of his young daughter.  I edited the raw poem, making some editorial choices Stevenson left us, with a few tweaks here and there.  I broke Stevenson's 17 lines into four stanzas (dropping line 7), retaining the meter and rhyme scheme of the original.   I lay no claim to this work, and therefore release it to the public domain.  I only ask that a similar caveat as this accompany any public display or rendition – to protect Mr. Stevenson's reputation more than to promote  my own.  The original version and my  "edited " rendition appear below.
– S.H. Bass         


Stevenson's raw poem:

O NEPOS, twice my neigh(b)our (since at home

We're door by door, by Flora's temple dome;
And in the country, still conjoined by fate,
Behold our villas standing gate by gate),
Thou hast a daughter, dearer far than life -
Thy image and the image of thy wife.
Thy image and thy wife's, and be it so!

But why for her, { neglect the flowing } can
                            { O Nepos, leave the }

And lose the prime of thy Falernian?
Hoard casks of money, if to hoard be thine;
But let thy daughter drink a younger wine!
Let her go rich and wise, in silk and fur;

Lay down a { bin that shall } grow old with her;
                     { vintage to }

But thou, meantime, the while the batch is sound,
With pleased companions pass the bowl around;
Nor let the childless only taste delights,
For Fathers also may enjoy their nights.

edited version at
vintagewinepoems.com:

O Nepos, twice my neighbor (here at home,

door-by-door, we share Flora's temple dome;
and in the country, still conjoined by fate,
behold our villas standing gate by gate!):

Thou hast a daughter, dearer far than life –
made in thy image and that of thy wife.
But why for her, neglect the flowing bin
and lose the prime of thy Falernian?

Hoard casks of money, if to hoard be thine,
but let thy daughter drink a younger wine!
Let her grow rich and wise, in silk and fur;
Lay down a vintage to grow old with her.

And thou, meantime, while this batch remains sound,
with pleased companions, pass the bowl around.
Let not the childless only taste delights,
for fathers also may enjoy their nights.
The Rhyme Maker
Robet Louis Stevenson
Robert Louis Stevenson
1850-1894



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