I've decided to catalogue my books so I can find individual ones more easily. Because for once I'm looking at the inside title pages etc, I've been fascinated to discover that quite a lot have poems and quotations in the front, not always related to the actual book - some are put there by the series editor (esp a quote from Jerrold about how a book is a blessed purchase). In the front of Treasure Island - number 72 of The Brodie Books, a very old paperback undated, is the following:
TO THE HESITATING PURCHASER
If sailor tales to sailor tunes,
Storm and adventure, heat and cold,
If schooners, islands, and maroons,
And Buccaneers and buried Gold,
And all the old romance, retold
Exactly in the ancient way
Can please, as me they pleased of old,
The wiser youngsters of to-day:
- So be it, and fall on! If not,
If studious youth no longer crave.
His ancient appetites forgot,
Kingston, or Ballantyne the brave,
Or Cooper of the wood and wave:
So be it also! And may I
And all my pirates share the grave
Where these and their creations lie!
It seems likely Stevenson wrote it, but is it part of the book and always put at the front, or not. If anyone has a different copy, could they look, please? Is it used for Stevensons other adventure books? I've heard of Ballantyne, but not Kingston or Cooper of the wood - anyone know them?
And the dedication - To S L O an American gentleman, in accordance whith wholse classic taste the following narrative has been designed, it is now in return for numerous delightful hours, and with the kindest wishes, dedicated by his affectionate friend, the author - is equally intriguing!
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/10/2007 07:53AM by marian222.
Fennimore Cooper of "Last of the mohicans" etc, perhaps.
The Pirate of the Mediterranean by William Henry Giles Kingston (1814-1889)?
James Fenimore Cooper (1789–1851)? He is particularly remembered as a novelist, who wrote numerous sea-stories........(Wikipedia)
These two authors are within Stevenson's time frame.
Robert Louis (Balfour) Stevenson (1850–1894)
The poem TO THE HESITATING PURCHASER is in a 1946 copy I own. (The back binding is correct, but the cover of the book is upside down.)
Thanks very much, Terry and Linda - I'd never have thought of Fennimore Cooper as 'Cooper of the Woods', possibly because I remember the Fennymore bit better than the Cooper. It would seem from his choice of subject for dedication and (if it is) Fennymore Cooper appearing in the poem, that America was very much in Stevenson's mind - perhaps he regarded it as the place where most of the adventures were happening in his time time, Britain having become too 'civilised'?