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Cardiac

Robert William Service 1874 – 1958

A mattock high he swung;
I watched him at his toil;
With never gulp of lung
He gashed the ruddy soil.
Thought I, I'd give my wealth
  To have his health.

With fortune I would part,
And privilege resign,
Could I but have his heart,
And he have mine . . .
Then suddenly I knew
  My wish was true.

Like him I swung: with awe
He marked my steady breath.
Then suddenly I saw
That he was sick to death.
My heart in him was frail
  And seemed to fail.

Said I: 'Take back your heart
And I will bear with mine.
Poor lad! All wealth apart
'Tis murder I design,
Not all a Nabob's wealth
  Is worth your health.'

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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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    "Cardiac" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 26 Sep. 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/32038/cardiac>.

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