Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Lamplighter

Noon in the sunny south of France, the first Wednesday of the month. The town's warning siren has just wailed its way though its monthly try-out. But I'm going to take you back in time to the darkening streets of 19th century Edinburgh today...My parents live near to the childhood home of the poet and author Robert Louis Stevenson. In his youth the poor boy was often very ill, mainly because the now-beautiful Water of Leith ran near the house, carrying at that time all sorts of diseases which weren't properly understood.One of the highlights of poor, sickly Robert's day was to see the new gas lamps being lit every evening. His street was actually the first in Edinburgh to get these newfangled inventions, with each householder paying a contribution towards the lights and the wages of 'Leerie', the lamplighter.
The overgrown remains of those very gaslamps can still be seen all down Robert's street. In other (posher) parts of the New Town of Edinburgh the lamps are still in use, although I assume they've been converted to electricity now. Here I've used photos of the lamps I saw to illustrate Robert Louis Stevenson's children's poem, The Lamplighters.

My tea is nearly ready and the sun has left the sky;
It's time to take the window to see Leerie going by; For every night at teatime and before you take your seat,
With lantern and with ladder he comes posting up the street. Now Tom would be a driver and Maria go to sea,
And my papa's a banker and as rich as he can be; But I, when I am stronger and can choose what I'm to do,
O Leerie, I'll go round at night and light the lamps with you! For we are very lucky, with a lamp before the door,
And Leerie stops to light it as he lights so many more; And O! before you hurry by with ladder and with light,
O Leerie, see a little child and nod to him tonight!

9 comments:

Laura said...

Hi! Thanks for stopping by and leaving kind words..I am glad you did for now I have discovered your wonderful blog! Thank you for the history lesson and the great photos! Good luck in the give-back! Nice to meet you! Laura

Elizabethd said...

Lovely , lovely. Thanks Floss, I so enjoyed that.

Mr Lee said...

Hello,thank you for your kind words.We want to create 200 pieces of chinese paper-cutting art works to be shown to the outside world to commemorate the spirit of Jesus Christ and carry forward. Because at the first time we use this style.We are still using this style to ensure the story of the Bible uniformly.While we will try other styles in the future,such as Chinese style.Welcome to our blog usually.We are very happy Best wishes.
.

skippinginthemeadow said...

Marvelous stuff Floss!
You put the words and images together so beautifully.
Many thanks for your sweet comment on my knitted cat post. If you ever decide to take up knitting and need any help, give me a shout.
xx
Sumea

Glenda/MidSouth said...

Thanks so much for sharing - I have not read that poem since I was a child.
Glenda

Glenda/MidSouth said...

Thanks for stopping by. I don't remember seeing a place of origin on the tag.
Glenda

Sarah said...

That was really beautiful! So lovely with all the photos to go with it too. I really enjoy your photos, it's like being in France again.

Terry said...

Oh Floss your a blog is such a delight .
This was my first visit but not to be my last .
It is simply the first of many to come.
I was sitting outside in my porch swing today reading about Scotland .I have been researching my family history and it seems that unknown to my Dad we have an English,Scotch,French,Norwegian heritage.
Anyway I just wanted to say thank you for a very lovely time.
Blessings to you and yours.

juanitatortilla said...

I enjoyed this so much!

P.S. tbe gorgeous, handmade purse made it to my door!!!