Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)
The Celestial Surgeon
If I have faltered more or less
In my great task of happiness;
If I have moved among my race
And shone no glorious morning face;
If beams from happy human eyes
Have moved me not; if morning skies,
Books, and my food, and summer rain,
Knocked on my sullen heart in vain:
Lord, thy most pointed pleasure take
And stab my spirit broad awake.
Robert Louis Stevenson was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, the only child of an intensely religious family. When he was seventeen he entered the University of Edinburgh, ostensibly to study engineering like his father, but even as a young student Stevenson knew he was destined to be a writer. Although he is best remembered for his novel Treasure Island, he was a prolific writer. When he died of a stroke in his house on Samoa at the age of forty-four, his collected works would eventually run to some thirty volumes.