Underwoods  

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There are men and classes of men that stand above the common herd: the soldier, the sailor, and the shepherd not infrequently; the artist rarely; rarelier still, the clergyman; the physician almost as a rule. He is the flower (such as it is) of our civilization; and when that stage of man is done with, and only to be marvelled at in history, he will be thought to have shared as little, as any in the defects of the period, and most notably exhibited the virtues of the race. Generosity he has, such as is possible to those who practise an art, never to those who drive a trade; discretion, tested by a hundred secrets; tact, tried in a thousand embarrassments; and what are more important, Heraclean cheerfulness and courage. So that he brings air and cheer into the sick room, and often enough, though not so often as he wishes, brings healing. --Robert Louis Stevenson, in his Preface to Underwoods

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Underwoods is a collection of poems by Robert Louis Stevenson published in 1887. It comprises two books, Book I with 38 poems in English, Book II with 16 poems in Scots. He says in the initial note that "I am from the Lothians myself; it is there I heard the language spoken about my childhood; and it is in the drawling Lothian voice that I repeat it to myself."

The dedication is to "a few out of many doctors who have brought me comfort and help." He starts by saying that "There are men and classes of men that stand above the common herd: the soldier, the sailor and the shepherd not infrequently; the artist rarely; rarer still the clergyman; the physician almost as a rule. He is the flower (such as it is) of our civilization ...."




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Underwoods" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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