The Lamplighter is a Nursery Rhyme by Robert Louis Stevenson published in 1885 in Penny Whistles (better known today as A Child’s Garden of Verses).This poem may be autobiographical. Stevenson was sickly growing up (probably tuberculosis), thus “when I am stronger” may refer to his hope of recovery. Further, his illness isolated him, so the loneliness expressed in the poem would fit well with his own childhood.
Lyrics To “The Lamplighter”
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 oh! before you hurry by with ladder and with light
O Leerie, see a little child and nod to him tonight
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