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The Spell of the Yukon and Other Verses

Robert W. Service

Book Overview: 

Known as the Bard of the Yukon and as a people's poet, Robert Service immortalized his experience with the Yukon and its gold rush and this collection of poetry. While some poems are anecdotal and amusing, others capture the raw brilliance that frontiers evoke and the ever pioneering spirit of man. Alternately titled Songs of a Sourdough in the United Kingdoms.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .rmless, forsaken, scented by wolves in their flight, Left for the wind to make music through ribs that are glittering white; Gnawing the black crust of failure, searching the pit of despair, Crooking the toe in the trigger, trying to patter a prayer; Going outside with an escort, raving with lips all afoam, Writing a cheque for a million, driveling feebly of home; Lost like a louse in the burning... or else in the tented town Seeking a drunkard's solace, sinking and sinking down; Steeped in the slime at the bottom, dead to a decent world, Lost 'mid the human flotsam, far on the frontier hurled; In the camp at the bend of the river, with its dozen saloons aglare, Its gambling dens ariot, its gramophones all ablare; Crimped with the crimes of a city, sin-ridden and bridled with lies, In the hush of my mountained vastness, in the flush of my midnight skies. Plague-spots, yet tools of my purpose, so natheless I suffer them thrive, . . . Read More

Community Reviews

I find reviewing poetry really difficult, so I don't have anything particularly brilliant to say. I loved this book a lot. It's authentic Canadian pioneer days, gold rush stuff, and it's got the meter of Scottish drinking songs. I read quite a lot of it out loud -- couldn't help it, it begs to be su

Poetry written during the gold rush is so interesting. I really enjoyed this collection. My favourite poem was The Song of the Wage-Slave. It really resonated with me…which is weird due to the message of it but whatever lol

Struggling young authors are often advised to write about the world they know best - a good rule, but one that needs to be broken now and again. The Anglo-Scottish writer Robert Service gave us some of the classic poems of the Canadian gold rush, when his knowledge of mining was precisely nil.

He was

A wonderful collection of verse. They sometimes are overly sentimental, sappy, or dramatic, but there are a few real gems in there. Aside from favorites such as "Sam McGee" and "Dan McGrew" I really liked "The Three Voices".

My first introduction to Robert Service's poetry was from a tape recording

My parents’ evangelical church is doing a year-long study of the book of Acts, which I think is really neat, because that book has (in my view) some of the most explicitly communist passages in the Christian testament. Even conservative readings of that book are fairly demanding on one’s ethics. Hop

Fate has written a tragedy; its name is 'the human heart.'


I am the land that listens, I am the land that broods;
Steeped in eternal beauty, crystalline waters and woods.
Long have I waited lonely, shunned as a thing accurst,
Monstrous, moody, pathetic, the last of the lands and the first;
Visioning c

"Fate has written a tragedy; its name is 'the human heart'."

I've admired Service's work since I was a teenager. Back then his poems ("This is the tale that was told to me by the man with the crystal eye") spoke to me of all the excitement and adventure that I hoped to one day have in the faraway pla

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