English Poet and Writer, known as "the Bard of the Yukon"
Robert Service, fully Robert William Service
English Poet and Writer, known as "the Bard of the Yukon"
I have an intense dislike for artificial society. In France, one could lead a free life - to do what one wanted to do without interference or criticism from one's neighbors.
I have some friends, some honest friends, and honest friends are few; My pipe of briar, my open fire, A book that's not too new.
I remember little of the Yukon or what I wrote there.
It isn't the mountain ahead that wears you out; it's the grain of sand in your shoe.
It's a different song when everything's wrong, when you're feeling infernally mortal; when it's ten against one, and hope there is none, buck up, little soldier, and chortle!
It's the plugging away that will win you the day So don't be a piker old pard! Just draw on your grit; it's so easy to quit- It's the keeping your chin up that's hard.
It's the steady, quiet, plodding ones who win in the lifelong race.
The happy man is he who knows his limitations, yet bows to no false gods.
The lonely sunsets flare forlorn down valleys dreadly desolate; the lonely mountains soar in scorn as still as death, as stern as fate.
The only society I like is rough and tough, and the tougher the better. There's where you get down to bedrock and meet human people.
Ah! the clock is always slow; it is later than you think.
There's a land where the mountains are nameless and the rivers all run God knows where; there are lives that are erring and aimless, and deaths that just hang by a hair; there are hardships that nobody reckons; there are valleys unpeopled and still; there's a land--oh, it beckons and beckons, and I want to go back--and I will.
Alas! the road to Anywhere is pitfalled with disaster; there's hunger, want, and weariness, yet O we loved it so! As on we tramped exultantly, and no man was our master, and no man guessed what dreams were ours, as, swinging heel and toe, we tramped the road to Anywhere, the magic road to Anywhere, the tragic road to Anywhere, such dear, dim years ago.
This is the Law of the Yukon, that only the strong shall thrive; That surely the weak shall perish, and only the fit survive.
And each forgets, as he strips and runs With a brilliant, fitful pace, It's the steady, quiet, plodding ones Who win in the lifelong race. And each forgets that his youth has fled, Forgets that his prime is past, Till he stands one day, with a hope that's dead, In the glare of the truth at last.
When children's children shall talk of War as a madness that may not be; when we thank our God for our grief today, and blazon from sea to sea in the name of the Dead the banner of Peace. . . that will be Victory.
Avoid extremes: be moderate In saving and in spending; An equable and easy gait Will win an easy ending.
Write verse, not poetry. The public wants verse. If you have a talent for poetry, then don't by any means mother it, but try your hand at verse.
Be sure your wisest words are those you do not say.
His life, though none too long, Was never dull: Of woman, wine and song Bill had his full.
When children’s children shall talk of War as a madness that may not be;
When we thank our God for our grief today, and blazon from sea to sea
In the name of the Dead the banner of Peace … that will be Victory.
It’s easy to fight when everything’s right
And you’re mad with the thrill and the glory;
It’s easy to cheer when victory’s near,
And wallow in fields that are gory.
It’s a different song when everything’s wrong,
When you’re feeling infernally mortal;
When it’s ten against one, and hope there is none,
Buck up, little soldier, and chortle!
I know a mountain thrilling to the stars,
Peerless and pure, and pinnacled with snow;
Glimpsing the golden dawn o’er coral bars,
Flaunting the vanished sunset’s garnet glow;
Proudly patrician, passionless, serene; 5
Soaring in silvered steeps where cloud-surfs break;
Virgin and vestal—oh, a very Queen!
And at her feet there dreams a quiet lake.
My lake adores my mountain—well I know,
For I have watched it from its dawn-dream start, 10
Stilling its mirror to her splendid snow,
Framing her image in its trembling heart;
Glassing her graciousness of greening wood,
Kissing her throne, melodiously mad,
Thrilling responsive to her every mood, 15
Gloomed with her sadness, gay when she is glad.
My lake has dreamed and loved since time was born;
Will love and dream till time shall cease to be;
Gazing to her in worship half forlorn,
Who looks towards the stars and will not see— 20
My peerless mountain, splendid in her scorn …
Alas! poor little lake! Alas! poor me!
I bought a young and lovely bride,
Paying her father gold;
Lamblike she rested by my side,
As cold as ice is cold.
No love in her could I awake,
Even for pity's sake.
I bought rich books I could not read,
And pictures proud and rare;
Reproachfully they seemed to plead
And hunger for my care;
But to their beauty I was blind,
Even as is a hind.
The bearded merchants heard my cry:
'I'll give all I posses
If only, only I can buy
A little happiness.'
Alas! I sought without avail:
They had not that for sale.
I gave my riches to the poor
And dared the desert lone;
Now of God's heaven I am sure
Though I am rag and bone . . .
Aye, richer than the Aga Khan,
At last--a happy man.
Because the rhymes I make for raiment
Fail to avail its meed of payment,
I fain must make my well-worn tweeds
Suffice me for tomorrow's needs--
Until my verse the public reads.
I used to go to Savile Row,
But now their prices are so high,
With royalties at all time low,
Because my books few want to buy . . .
No, I don't blame them, but that's why.
Well, anyway I'd rather fare
In tattered rags and ring my chimes
Than strut around in wealthy wear.
--So in these tough and trying times
Let me flaunt like defiant flags
The jubilation of my RAGS.