Dedicatory Poem For "Underwoods" by Robert Louis Stevenson
TO her, for I must still regard her As feminine in her degree, Who has been my unkind bombarder Year after year, in grief and glee, Year after year, with oaken tree; And yet betweenwhiles my laudator In terms astonishing to me - To the Right Reverend The Spectator I here, a humble dedicator, Bring the last apples from my tree.
In tones of love, in tones of warning, She hailed me through my brief career; And kiss and buffet, night and morning, Told me my grandmamma was near; Whether she praised me high and clear Through her unrivalled circulation, Or, sanctimonious insincere, She damned me with a misquotation - A chequered but a sweet relation, Say, was it not, my granny dear?
Believe me, granny, altogether Yours, though perhaps to your surprise. Oft have you spruced my wounded feather, Oft brought a light into my eyes - For notice still the writer cries. In any civil age or nation, The book that is not talked of dies. So that shall be my termination: Whether in praise or execration, Still, if you love me, criticise!