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Gypsy Jill

Robert William Service 1874 – 1958



They're hanging Bill at eight o' clock,
  And millions will applaud.
He killed, and so they have to kill,
  Such is the will of God.
His brother Tom is on my bed
  To keep me comforted.

I see his bleary, blotchy face,
  I hear his sodden snore.
He plans that he can take Bill's place;
  I felt worse than a whore
As in his arms I cried all night,
  Thinking of poor Bill's plight.

I keep my eyes upon the clock;
  It nears the stroke of eight.
I think how bravely Bill will walk
  To meet his gallows fate . . .
His loaded gun is in the tent,--
  I know now what he meant.

Though Tom is boastful he will wed
  With me, no more to part,
I'll put a bullet through his head,
  Another through my heart:
At eight, stone-dead we three will be,
  --Bill, Tom and me.

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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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