Robert Louis Stevenson

This Gloomy Northern Day

Poem by Robert Louis Stevenson

THIS gloomy northern day,
Or this yet gloomier night,
Has moved a something high
In my cold heart; and I,
That do not often pray,
Would pray to-night.

And first on Thee I call
For bread, O God of might!
Enough of bread for all, -
That through the famished town
Cold hunger may lie down
With none to-night.

I pray for hope no less,
Strong-sinewed hope, O Lord,
That to the struggling young
May preach with brazen tongue
Stout Labour, high success,
And bright reward.

And last, O Lord, I pray
For hearts resigned and bold
To trudge the dusty way -
Hearts stored with song and joke
And warmer than a cloak
Against the cold.

If nothing else he had,
He who has this, has all.
This comforts under pain;
This, through the stinging rain,
Keeps ragamuffin glad
Behind the wall.

This makes the sanded inn
A palace for a Prince,
And this, when griefs begin
And cruel fate annoys,
Can bring to mind the joys
Of ages since.