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Young Fellow My Lad

"Where are you going, Young Fellow My Lad,
  On this glittering morn of May?"
"I'm going to join the Colours, Dad;
  They're looking for men, they say."
"But you're only a boy, Young Fellow My Lad;
  You aren't obliged to go."
"I'm seventeen and a quarter, Dad,
  And ever so strong, you know."

  * * * *

"So you're off to France, Young Fellow My Lad,
  And you're looking so fit and bright."
"I'm terribly sorry to leave you, Dad,
  But I feel that I'm doing right."
"God bless you and keep you, Young Fellow My Lad,
  You're all of my life, you know."
"Don't worry. I'll soon be back, dear Dad,
  And I'm awfully proud to go."

  * * * *

"Why don't you write, Young Fellow My Lad?
  I watch for the post each day;
And I miss you so, and I'm awfully sad,
  And it's months since you went away.
And I've had the fire in the parlour lit,
  And I'm keeping it burning bright
Till my boy comes home; and here I sit
  Into the quiet night.

  * * * *

"What is the matter, Young Fellow My Lad?
  No letter again to-day.
Why did the postman look so sad,
  And sigh as he turned away?
I hear them tell that we've gained new ground,
  But a terrible price we've paid:
God grant, my boy, that you're safe and sound;
But oh I'm afraid, afraid."

  * * * *

"They've told me the truth, Young Fellow My Lad:
  You'll never come back again:
(Oh God! the dreams and the dreams I've had,
  and the hopes I've nursed in vain!)
For you passed in the night, Young Fellow My Lad,
  And you proved in the cruel test
Of the screaming shell and the battle hell
  That my boy was one of the best.
"So you'll live, you'll live, Young Fellow My Lad,
  In the gleam of the evening star,
In the wood-note wild and the laugh of the child,
  In all sweet things that are.
And you'll never die, my wonderful boy,
  While life is noble and true;
For all our beauty and hope and joy
  We will owe to our lads like you."

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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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    "Young Fellow My Lad" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 31 Jul 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/32766/young-fellow-my-lad>.

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