Robert Service

Canadian poet
Robert William Service
It is later than you think!

Robert William Service (16 January 187411 September 1958) was an English poet, educated in Scotland, who sailed to Canada in 1894.

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Just have one more try - it's dead easy to die,
It's the keeping-on-living that's hard.
*ServiceWise & OtherWise (1942)

Oh it is good to ride and run,
To roam the reenwood
wild and free;
To hunt, to idle in the sun,
To leap into the laughing sea
*ServiceWise & OtherWise (1942)

I count each day a little life,
With birth and death complete;
I cloister it from care and strife
And keep it sane and sweet.
*ServiceWise & OtherWise (1942)

Marriage is a bachelor’s punishment for his sins
*ServiceWise & OtherWise (1942)

The world is full of scribbling Nobodies
who think they’re scribbling Somebodies.
*ServiceWise & OtherWise (1942)

Dignity is a tin god in the temple of bunk.
*ServiceWise & OtherWise (1942)

After fifty don’t go to a funeral if you can avoid it.
It’s bad enough to go to your own when times comes.
*ServiceWise & OtherWise (1942)

Wisdom is peace, peace wisdom.
Both are born of a humble heart and a nourished gratitude.
*ServiceWise & OtherWise (1942)

Nature is the nest professor in the end.
*ServiceWise & OtherWise (1942)


Some praise the Lord for Light,
The living spark;
I thank God for the Night
The healing dark.
*ServiceWise & OtherWise (1942)


  • There's the wretched rent to pay,
    Yet I glower at pen and ink:
    Oh, inspire me, Muse, I pray,
    It is later than you think!
  • "It's coming soon and soon, mother, it's nearer every day,
    When only men who work and sweat will have a word to say;
    When all who earn their honest bread in every land and soil
    Will claim the Brotherhood of Man, the Comradeship of Toil;
    When we, the Workers, all demand: `What are we fighting for?' . . .
    Then, then we'll end that stupid crime, that devil's madness -- War."
    • Ballads of a Bohemian (1921), Michael
  • Mud is mankind in the moulding,
    Heaven's mystery unfolding

The Law of the Yukon (1907)Edit

  • This is the law of the Yukon, and ever she makes it plain:
    "Send not your foolish and feeble; send me your strong and your sane --
    Strong for the red rage of battle; sane for I harry them sore;
    Send me men girt for the combat, men who are grit to the core
  • Wild and wide are my borders, stern as death is my sway;
    From my ruthless throne I have ruled alone for a million years and a day
  • This is the Law of the Yukon, that only the Strong shall thrive;
    That surely the Weak shall perish, and only the Fit survive.
    Dissolute, damned and despairful, crippled and palsied and slain,
    This is the Will of the Yukon, -- Lo, how she makes it plain!

The Shooting of Dan McGrew (1907)Edit

  • A bunch of the boys were whooping it up in the Malamute saloon;
    The kid that handles the music-box was hitting a rag-time tune;
    Back of the bar, in a solo game, sat Dangerous Dan McGrew,
    And watching his luck was his light-o'-love, the lady that’s known as Lou.
  • Were you ever out in the Great Alone, when the moon was awful clear,
    And the icy mountains hemmed you in with a silence you most could hear;
    With only the howl of a timber wolf, and you camped there in the cold,
    A helf-dead thing in a stark, dead world, clean mad for the muck called gold;
    While high overhead, green, yellow, and red, the North Lights swept in bars? —
    Then you've a hunch what the music meant . . . hunger and night and the stars.
  • But I want to state, and my words are straight, and I'll bet my poke they're true,
    That one of you is a hound of hell . . . and that one is Dan McGrew.

The Cremation of Sam McGeeEdit

 
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights
  • There are strange things done in the midnight sun
    By the men who moil for gold;
    The Arctic trails have their secret tales
    That would make your blood run cold;
    The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
    But the queerest they ever did see
    Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
    I cremated Sam McGee.
  • Now a promise made is a debt unpaid, and the trail has its own stern code.
  • And the heavens scowled, and the huskies howled, and the wind began to blow.
    It was icy cold, but the hot sweat rolled down my cheeks, and I don’t know why;
    And the greasy smoke in an inky cloak went streaking down the sky.

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