Preface To the Hesitating Purchaser

Another favorite preface of mine, and a pleas to the wary bookbuyer, was penned by Robert Louis Stevenson as front matter for his immortal TREASURE ISLAND. With the moxie of Lucretius, he pens his plea in poetry, at the same time praising his forebears, promising wonders, and defying time and fashion.

All in all, a most professional, humble, yet bold entreaty. God send more quills like this to scribble on the pages of the world!

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!”

― Robert Louis Stevenson

And to hear it spoken in the accents of the man who defined what a pirate accent should be, here is the immortal Robert Newton, reprising his classic role: