A lullaby by Robert Louis Stevenson, circa 1875.

While deleting spam emails this afternoon, I fell upon an eDM from a hidden gem in NYC that sells magazines of revered photography and design from every era between here and the 17th century. I once spent an accidental fortune (USD to AUD math) on five, or so, magazines and books about 1960s,70s home designs; their textures, floors, walls, sculptural armchairs… architectural timestamps.

Struggling to report as junk, I proceeded to the High Valley Books website and spiralled into the sublime vortex that is their collection of vintage papers. I was immediately called to attention by a copy of A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson in the ‘Featured’ section, published 1902.

Then… I stumbled across another copy, which is the aforementioned lullaby, printed 1895, made virtual through a scan from the NY Public Library.

Linked here, A CHILD’S GARDEN OF VERSES, 1885

Fantastical ink detail of hand-drawn illustrations and margins accompany transmutable poetry from a fascinating man who lived a life of lyrical proportions, Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894).

As from the house your mother sees

You playing round the garden trees,

So you may see, if you will look

Through the windows of this book,

Another child, far, far ways,

And in another garden, play.

But do not think you can at all,

By knocking on the window, call

That child to hear you. He intent

Is all on his play-business bent.

He does not hear; he will not look,

Nor yet be lured out of this book.

For, long ago, truth to say,

He has grown up and gone away,

And it is but a child of air

That lingers in the garden there.

A Child’s Garden of Verses, The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson, Swanston edn, vol xiv [London: Chatto and Windus, 1911], p. 59

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