Robert Louis Stevenson, 1850-1894  Stevenson's tomb on Mount Vaea


Although he wrote many stories which are set in the South Seas, Robert Louis Stevenson's native land remained in his thoughts.

He had completed 'The Master of Ballantrae' during his cruise, and once settled at Vailima he began work on a new novel. 'Weir of Hermiston' is claimed by many to be his finest work, although it was never completed.

Sudden death
One evening in December 1894, Stevenson died very suddenly. He had defied his weak lungs for over 40 years, but in the end it was a brain haemorrhage which killed him. The final words of his unfinished novel were strangely appropriate:

'It had seemed unprovoked, a wilful convulsion of brute nature …'

Home is the sailor
Fourteen years earlier, when he was very ill in California, Stevenson had composed his own epitaph:

'Under the wide and starry sky,
Dig the grave and let me lie.
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.

This be the verse you grave for me:
Here he lies where he longed to be;
Home is the sailor, home from sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.'
  'The Master of Ballantrae' cover
 'The Master of Ballantrae' illustration
Stevenson's tomb



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