In winter I get up at night / And dress by yellow candle-light.details

[Picture: In winter I get up at night / And dress by yellow candle-light.]
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Image title: In winter I get up at night / And dress by yellow candle-light.
Source: Stevenson, Robert Louis: “A Child’s Garden of Verses” (1905)
Keywords: illustrations for children, children, poetry, bare feet, people, interiors, beds, bedrooms, colour
Status: out of copyright (called public domain in the USA), hence royalty-free stock image for all purposes usage credit requested
Please do not redistribute without permission, since running this site is expensive.

In this illustration a small child, probably a girl, stands barefoot by a bed illuminated by the yellow glow of a candle; she is in the process of getting dressed in the dark, by the light of the candle.

I. Bed in Summer

In winter I get up at night
And dress by yellow candle-light.
In summer quite the other way,
I have to go to bed by day.

I have to go to bed and see
The birds still hopping on the tree,
Or hear the grown-up people’s feet
Still going past me in the street.

And does it not seem hard to you,
When all the sky is clear and blue,
And I should like so much to play,
To have to go to bed by day?

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Dimensions: 120 x 190mm (4.7 x 7.5 inches)
Place shown: none
Filename: 004-dress-by-yellow-candle-light-q75-318x500.jpg
Artist: Jessie Willcox Smith (1863-1935)
Scanner dpi: 800
Unmarked: You can get a version of this image without the watermark at the lower right corner by requesting it here; The images are watermarked to help people find where they came from if they get reposted to blogs or other sites. Images under 1200 pixels on a side are still free, although I will ask for a donation :-)

Comments:

Added by Adele Cameron on Thu Jan 17 19:40:55 2013

I remember being given a book as a child with this poem and always remembering the first two lines
I’ve been looking for a book with it in it for my wee boy so I could read to him
×××

Added by Steven M. Mounier on Sat Sep 26 01:46:42 2009

Ever since my mom passed away 23 years ago, a day has not gone by where i haven’t quoted the first two lines of this poem in my head to myself. It’s all I knew. I’ved asked everyone but nobody knew of the poem from the first 2 lines.It finally occured to me to Google it and what do you know. As a child my mom recited this poem to me every night going back 52 years. Every child should hear it. I’ll always love & cherish it.

Added by V.J. on Wed May 28 21:12:32 2008

I’ve loved this poem for over 42 years. I recite it to people all the time! On a whim I googled it and was amazed that I only had one word wrong – “strange” instead of hard. I still see grownup feet still passing by me in the street. I didn’t realize this was written by R.L. Stevenson, whom I’ve always loved to read.

Added by Annie on Sun Jul 27 15:39:53 2008

Don’t have a web page or the advanced technical expertise that you appear to have – I favour more towards art and literature but find the web a handy tool for lots of info. I remember reciting this poem when I took part in a local schools concert in Wardown Park, Luton, when I was 7 yrs old (1950). I thought of it recently when my 3yr old grandaughter complained about having to go to be when “it’s still morning”.

Added by Marian on Mon Dec 1 07:05:50 2008

Thank you for posting this, but there is a small error in your notes. Please notice that, according to the poem, “In winter I get up by night/And dress by yellow candle light.” Therefore the child in the illustration is dressing, not “starting to undress” as you suggest.

Added by Liam Quin on Thu Dec 4 16:54:07 2008

The poem continues, “In summer, quite the other way,
I have to go to bed by day.”
although I agree that one wouldn’t need a candle in the day, so you are right! Thanks!

Added by John on Fri Jun 12 21:25:53 2009

I had to memorize and recite this poem in front of my second grade class at Tenacre Country Day School in Wellesley, MA.
I still remember it 40 years later! Sigh...

Added by Gertrude on Wed Jul 18 03:35:28 2012

In fact, this poem isn’t about a child going to bed in summer – it’s about death, which always comes too soon, when "all the sky is clear and blue" and we would like so much to go on living.

Added by Liam on Wed Jul 18 09:53:00 2012

I don’t think this is a poem about life and death, although of course I can see the analogy. The contrast between waking up in winter and in summer doesn’t work if you read the poem that way.
The poem is of course written to be read out loud to small children, but I do not think it at all macabre.

Added by Juanell Smart on Tue Apr 30 22:54:51 2013

My mother taught me this poem about 70  years ago. I taught to my children, grandchildren and to many children. It is strange to see the words written. I never knew who the poet was. I love this poem.

   

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