Robert Louis Stevenson

(1850-1894 / Edinburgh / Scotland)

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A Good Boy


I woke before the morning, I was happy all the day,
I never said an ugly word, but smiled and stuck to play.

And now at last the sun is going down behind the wood,
And I am very happy, for I know that I've been good.

My bed is waiting cool and fresh, with linen smooth and fair,
And I must be off to sleepsin-by, and not forget my prayer.

I know that, till to-morrow I shall see the sun arise,
No ugly dream shall fright my mind, no ugly sight my eyes.

But slumber hold me tightly till I waken in the dawn,
And hear the thrushes singing in the lilacs round the lawn.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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  • Freshman - 2,476 Points Douglas Scotney (8/14/2013 7:23:00 PM)

    He's talking himself into having a nightmare-free sleep.Have a look at Coleridge's 'The Nightingale' and my 'A Father's Tale' for different takes on nightmares. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 774 Points Lamont Palmer (8/14/2013 9:34:00 AM)

    It seems to me that its a metaphor speaking to how we should behave as adults, which is to lead a simple life, be as noble as one can be and be thankful to be alive. -LP (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Jacob Bearer (8/14/2012 2:22:00 PM)

    Yeah, there's something unnatural about this poem! I would think a good boy would have a sling shot in his hand and a neighbor's broken window pane, or a can of cooked beans steaming next to what was once grandpa's tool shed - now there's a good boy. This just isn't a poem I think I'll want to revisit; unless someone can give me a coupe reasons to do so...thoughts? (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Kevin Straw (8/14/2012 12:10:00 PM)

    Everyone has missed the unnaturalness of this little boy's life. Stephenson's nurse was a strict Calvinist and her religion and folk beliefs were an early source of nightmares for the boy. It is as though he has to keep a grip on himself to earn a good night. The mention of the ugly dreams indicates that he was not a stranger to them. This is not the poem of a happy boy. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Kevin Straw (8/14/2012 1:46:00 AM)

    till tomorrow is wrong. He is saying that he will see the sun arise all night! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Bella Stylos (8/14/2011 7:24:00 AM)

    Awesome indeed.it strikes on innocence and living without worries unlike Adults.very awesome indeed (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Nick K (4/25/2010 10:21:00 AM)

    Just chanced upon this poem on here, and it almost made me cry. I chose this poem as an 8 or 9 year old at school to try to memorise and recite in a school assembly or something.

    It just reminds me of childhood innocence, and I remember really believing in this poem, and doing my best to live like this. This was back when I believed in the Catholic Church, of course. Oh, how I have changed since then, but I must always try and remember this poem, and keep trying to live this way.

    Beautiful, simple words, I love the last couplet, and I think I will read this to my kids each night before they go to sleep, as we have a lilac tree outside their bedroom window.

    Thank you, Mr Stevenson. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 10 Points Ravi A (8/14/2009 11:29:00 AM)

    A very nice poem that reminds us to be good like him. Great poets are like this. They have a positive idea for the world. The rhyme scheme is also good. R L Stevenson has written a number of poems for children of all generation. 'Garden of verses' is a compilation of such poems. If these poems are still remembered, it means that they contain serene reflection of life. Let us breathe that fresh air. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 0 Points Pushkar Bisht (8/14/2009 3:31:00 AM)

    Oh he is my favourite One! ! What a lovely poem that keeps me fresh and cool like him. A great poet stevenson.! ! ! ! Lots of love to Stevenson. (Report) Reply

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