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The Ape And I

Robert William Service 1874 – 1958



Said a monkey unto me:
"How I'm glad I am not you!
See, I swing from tree to tree,
Something that you cannot do.
In gay greenery I drown;
Swift to skyey hights I scale:
As you watch me hang head down
Don't you wish you had a tail?

"Don't you wish that you could wear
In the place of stuffy clothes,
Just a silky coat of hair,
Never shoes to cramp your toes?
Never need to toil for bread,
Round you nuts and fruit and spice;
And with palm tuft for a bed
Happily to crack your lice?"

Said I: "You are right, maybe:
Witting naught of wordly woe,
Gloriously you are free,
And of death you nothing know.
Envying your monkey mind,
Innocent of blight and bale,
As I touch my bald behind
How I wish I had a tail!"

So in toils of trouble caught,
Oft I wonder with a sigh
If that blue-bummed ape is not
Happier than I?

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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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