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Belated Bard



The songs I made from joy of earth
In wanton wandering,
Are rapturous with Maytime mirth
And ectasy of Spring.
But all the songs I sing today
Take tediously the ear:
Novemberishly dark are they
With mortuary fear.

For half a century has gone
Since first I rang a rhyme;
And that is long to linger on
The tolerance of Time.
This blue-veined hand with which I write
Yet answers to my will;
Though four-score years I count to-night
I am unsilent still.

"Senile old fool!" I hear you say;
"Beside the dying fire
You huddle and stiff-fingered play
Your tired and tinny lyre."
Well, though your patience I may try,
Bear with me yet awhile,
And though you scorn my singing I
Will thank you with a smile.

For I such soul-delighting joy
Have found in simple rhyme,
Since first a happy-hearted boy
I coaxed a word to chime,
That ere I tryst with Mother Earth
Let from my heart arise
A song of youth and starry mirth . . .
Then close my eyes.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Robert William Service

Robert William Service was a poet and writer sometimes referred to as the Bard of the Yukon He is best-known for his writings on the Canadian North including the poems The Shooting of Dan McGrew The Law of the Yukon and The Cremation of Sam McGee His writing was so expressive that his readers took him for a hard-bitten old Klondike prospector not the later-arriving bank clerk he actually was Robert William Service was born 16 January 1874 in Preston England but also lived in Scotland before emigrating to Canada in 1894 Service went to the Yukon Territory in 1904 as a bank clerk and became famous for his poems about this region which are mostly in his first two books of poetry He wrote quite a bit of prose as well and worked as a reporter for some time but those writings are not nearly as well known as his poems He travelled around the world quite a bit and narrowly escaped from France at the beginning of the Second World War during which time he lived in Hollywood California He died 11 September 1958 in France Incidentally he played himself in a movie called The Spoilers starring John Wayne and Marlene Dietrich more…

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