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Ballads of a Bohemian

Robert W. Service

Book Overview: 

Ballads of a Bohemian is a collection of poems tied together by the narration of the “author” Stephen Poore. The poems speak of bohemian life in Paris before the war, his experiences during World War I and its aftermath.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .I knew My sewing-girl had gone for ever. And as I sit alone to-night My eyes unto her room are turning . . . I'd give the sum of all I write Once more to see her candle burning, Once more to glimpse her happy face, And while my rhymes of cheer I'm ringing, Across the sunny sweep of space To hear her singing, singing, singing.

Heigh ho! I realize I am very weary. It's nice to be so tired, and to know one can sleep as long as one wants. The morning sunlight floods in at my window, so I draw the blind, and throw myself on my bed. . . .


My Garret,

Montparnasse, April.

Hurrah! As I opened my eyes this morning to a hard, unfeeling world, little did I think what a surprise awaited me. A big blue envelope had been pushed under my door. Another rejection, I thought, and I took it up distastefully. The next moment I was staring at my first cheque. . . . Read More

Community Reviews

I liked the title more than the actually poetry most of the time. Still, it was well suited to the period of my life in which I read it.

Robert Service is a British/Canadian poet. Reading a recent facebook message from Louise Penny, I learned a bit more about Service. Penny quoted from a couple of his poems. I was curious and found this collection in the library. His work is sometimes lengthy and daunting. At other times he shows a w

It's in the form of a memoir by an American poet starving in a garret in 1914 Paris. (Service lived in Paris for years -- he was a Klondike poetry mogul by then, although he did enjoy slumming by night with his doorman). Brief anecdotes in prose, along the lines of "Looking up, I saw a ragged girl s


A combination and mix of thoughts, never quite read something quite like this…

But I plan to read something like it again

Well done.

Robert Service is one of my favorite poets, and I have enjoyed the poetry in his other books, but I think that this one is the best. As I glanced through the book, I resisted reading it, because he has prose passages interspersed among his various poems. Yet it seemed to me that this book written in