Ballads of a Cheechako

Robert W. Service

To the Man of the High North

     My rhymes are rough, and often in my rhyming
      I've drifted, silver-sailed, on seas of dream,
     Hearing afar the bells of Elfland chiming,
      Seeing the groves of Arcadie agleam.

     I was the thrall of Beauty that rejoices
      From peak snow-diademed to regal star;
     Yet to mine aerie ever pierced the voices,
      The pregnant voices of the Things That Are.

     The Here, the Now, the vast Forlorn around us;
      The gold-delirium, the ferine strife;
     The lusts that lure us on, the hates that hound us;
      Our red rags in the patch-work quilt of Life.

     The nameless men who nameless rivers travel,
      And in strange valleys greet strange deaths alone;
     The grim, intrepid ones who would unravel
      The mysteries that shroud the Polar Zone.

     These will I sing, and if one of you linger
      Over my pages in the Long, Long Night,
     And on some lone line lay a calloused finger,
      Saying: "It's human-true--it hits me right";
     Then will I count this loving toil well spent;
     Then will I dream awhile--content, content.

©1909 by Robert W. Service

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