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Robet Louis Stevenson
Robert Louis Stevenson
1850-1894


Theme:  Friends

NOTES:
“nepot” is Latin for “my sister's son”, the root word for “nepotism”.   I believe this poem is addressed to American writer Lloyd Osbourne, Stevenson's stepson with whom he co-wrote the novels The Wrong Box (1889) and The Wrecker (1892).

First stanza:  Flora is the Roman goddess of flowers.

Second stanza: Falernian refers to an area of Italy, home of wines celebrated by Horace, famed poet of ancient Rome.

- S. H. Bass  

Special Note:   Stevenson's Ad Nepotem


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Ad Nepotem
Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894), Scottish novelist/poet
edited by S.H. Bass (b. 1956), American writer/poet

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.


from New Poems (1918)


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