Throughout his life he was much interested in politics, and though his temperamental indolence and his aversion for public life often prevented his accepting office, he exercised as a contributor, to the press and through his friendships, a powerful political influence, especially in New England.
In 1873 he first met Mr Sidney Colvin, who was to prove the closest of his friends and at last the loyal and admirable editor of his works and his correspondence; and to this time are attributed several of the most valuable friendships of Stevenson's life.
Friendships among "gentle and simple" - of the former, with Lady Farewell, grand-daughter of the protector Somerset - bear witness to the attraction of Alleine's private life.
Two new friendships about this time kindled in the poet something of the juvenile fire and passion of younger days.
In 1519, at the king's expense, he went to Padua, the Athens of Europe, according to Erasmus; and there, where Colet and Cuthbert Tunstall had also been educated, the "nobleman of England" as he was called, came into contact with the choicest minds of the later Italian Renaissance, and formed the friendships that influenced his life.