Collected Poems of Robert Service Info

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Robert Service, who is known as the “Bard of the
Yukon,” is known for his ability to capture the adventure,
desolation, and beauty of the Canadian North, and this authoritative
collection highlights his most popular works that came to immortalize
the Klondike Gold Rush. This expansive edition of the poetry of Robert
Service includes his most beloved works, including The Spell of the
Yukon
and Ballads of a Cheechako, in one beautiful hardbound
collection.
Perfect for fans of Jack London and Rudyard Kipling,
Service’s work is readable verse that will appeal to adventurers,
nature-lovers, and historians. Filled with colorful characters and
tales of hardship and luck, Service perfectly captures the raw spirit of
the early 1900s Yukon.

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Reviews for Collected Poems of Robert Service:

5

Jul 23, 2011



There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.


Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee, where the cotton blooms
and blows.
Why he left his home in the South to roam ‘round the Pole,
God only knows.
He was always cold, but the land of gold seemed to hold him

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.


Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee, where the cotton blooms
and blows.
Why he left his home in the South to roam ‘round the Pole,
God only knows.
He was always cold, but the land of gold seemed to hold him like
a spell;
Though he’d often say in his homely way that “he’d sooner live
in hell.”

On a Christmas Day we were mushing our way over the Daw-
son trail.
Talk of your cold! Through the parka’s fold it stabbed like a
driven nail.
If our eyes we’d close, then the lashes froze till sometimes we
couldn’t see;
It wasn’t much fun, but the only one to whimper was Sam
McGee

And that very night as we lay packed tight in our robes be-
neath the snow,
And the dogs were fed, and the stars o’erhead were dancing
heel and toe,
He turned to me and “Cap” says he, “I’ll cash in this trip, I
guess;
And if I do I’m asking that you won’t refuse my last request.”

Well he seemed so low that I couldn’t say no, then he says with
a sort of moan:
“It’s the cursed cold, and it’s got right hold till I’m chilled clean
through to the bone.
Yet ‘tain’t being dead – it’s my awful dread of the icy grave
that pains;
So I want you to swear that, foul or fair, you’ll cremate my last
remains.”

A pal’s last need is a thing to heed, so I swore I would not fail;
And we started on at the streak of dawn; but God! he looked
ghastly pale.
He crouched on the sleigh, and he raved all day of his home
in Tennessee;
And before nightfall a corpse was all that was left of Sam
McGee.

There wasn’t a breath in that land of death, and I hurried, horror-
driven,
With a corpse half hid that I couldn’t get rid, because of a
promise given;
It was lashed to the sleigh and it seemed to say: “You may tax
your brawn and brains,
But you promised true and it’s up to you to cremate those last
remains.”

Now a promise made is a debt unpaid, and the trail has its own
stern code.
In the days to come, though my lips were dumb, in my heart
how I cursed that load.
In the long, long night, by the lone firelight, while the huskies,
round in a ring,
Howled out their woes to the homeless snows – O God! how
I loathed the thing.

And every day that quiet clay seemed to heavy and heavier
grow;
And on I went, though the dogs were spent and the grub, was
getting low;
The trail was bad, and I felt half mad, but I swore I would not
give in;
And I’d often sing to the hateful thing, and it hearkened with
a grin.

Till I came to the marge of Lake Lebarge, and a derelict there
lay;
It was jammed in the ice, but I saw in a trice it was called the
“Alice May.”
And I looked at it, and I thought a bit, and I looked at my frozen
chum;
Then “Here,” said I, with a sudden cry, “ is my cre-ma-tor-eum.”

Some planks I tore from the cabin floor, and I lit the boiler
fire;
Some coal I found that was lying around, and I heaped the fuel
higher;
The flames just soared, and the furnace roared – such a blaze you
seldom see;
And I burrowed a hole in the glowing coal, and I stuffed in
Sam McGee

Then I made a hike, for I didn’t like to hear him sizzle so;
And the heavens scowled, and the huskies howled, and the wind
began to blow,
It was icy cold, but the hot sweat rolled down my cheeks, and I
don’t know why;
And the greasy smoke in an inky cloak went streaking down
the sky.

I do not know how long in the snow I wrestled with grisly fear;
But the stars came out and they danced about ere again I ven-
tured near;
I was sick with dread, but I bravely said; “I’ll just take a peep
inside.
I guess he’s cooked and it’s time I looked”; . . . then the door
I opened wide.

And there sat Sam, looking cool and calm, in the heart of the
furnace roar;
And he wore a smile you could see a mile, and he said: “Please
close that door.
It’s fine in here, but I greatly fear you’ll let in the cold and
storm –
Since I left Plumtree, down in Tennessee, it’s the first time I’ve
been warm.”


There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.





Happy Canada Day Good Readers!
...more
5

Jun 05, 2012

Come on now. In your heart of hearts, you love Robert Service's poetry. I have been reading and rereading it since I was ten, when my first employer, a warm-hearted and literary Southern gentleman named Frank Raulston, would sometimes recite long passages from memory. I have encountered many men throughout this continent from all walks of life with whom I have formed a lasting bond and instant rapport simply because we shared a stanza from Robert Service. His work is not majestic or profound, Come on now. In your heart of hearts, you love Robert Service's poetry. I have been reading and rereading it since I was ten, when my first employer, a warm-hearted and literary Southern gentleman named Frank Raulston, would sometimes recite long passages from memory. I have encountered many men throughout this continent from all walks of life with whom I have formed a lasting bond and instant rapport simply because we shared a stanza from Robert Service. His work is not majestic or profound, but it is accessible and elegant. It's a pity that he has fallen out of vogue with more recent generations. ...more
5

Sep 15, 2011

As I get older, I become more tolerant of poetry. Most of its too flightly or symbolic for me though, and I prefer it to tell a story, so when its not I often skip over it. That is not the case with this collection. Robert Service is known as the Bard of the North, and as the people’s poet. He really write so that everyone can understand, but its still so beautiful. He captures the deadly beauty of the Yukon, the tenacity of the human spirit, the weakness of the human condition. His poems about As I get older, I become more tolerant of poetry. Most of its too flightly or symbolic for me though, and I prefer it to tell a story, so when its not I often skip over it. That is not the case with this collection. Robert Service is known as the Bard of the North, and as the people’s poet. He really write so that everyone can understand, but its still so beautiful. He captures the deadly beauty of the Yukon, the tenacity of the human spirit, the weakness of the human condition. His poems about his service in WWI are particularly poignant.

My father used to sit around out campfire and recite from memory the Cremation of Sam McGee. I’m currently in the process of trying to memorize that one, as well as “The Men that Don’t Fit In.” If you are anything like me, Service’s poems sing to you in a way, in a language that few people understand.

Parts of this collection are provided for free as an audiobook by Librivox.org
...more
4

Jul 25, 2011

I let you in on a secret I took this book out of the library in my elementary school year I was probably in grade 7 and I never returned it because it held so much meaning to me, it made such a big impact on me that I just could not part with it. Robert Service's poems is poetry that lasts forever in your heart and makes you look at poetry differently from there on.
A magical ride of beauty and literacy that is sure to create a long love of the genre.
4

May 06, 2011

When I was young our parents took us camping. Around the campfire my father would recite "The Cremation of Sam Magee". It was always so great. I found the collected poems much later in life. Love them.
4

Feb 01, 2009

There is a race of men who don't fit in.....A race that can't be still...so,they break the heart of kith and kin and rome the world at will..........Robert Service.........nomad
4

Mar 14, 2010

I know many people dismiss Service as "cowboy" poetry, but if you read his entire collection, it's quite varied. The fact that this man has so many life experiences from which to draw makes his poetry that much more appealing to me.
And "The Mountain and the Lake" still remains one of my favorite poems of all time.
4

Nov 17, 2009

A gem. Alaskan poems that are so "American" you have gold dust behind your ears, Mississippi mud in your socks, and an arrow through your heart when you finish just a few of these.
5

Feb 23, 2008

All kinds of poetry from the bar room ballads of the Yukon to the Bohemian quatrians of Paris. Humorous as well as meloncholy, fanciful and brutally honest. All in one collection spanning 3 decades. Includes "Rhymes of a Red Cross Man" the best selling non-ficton work in 1916.
5

Jun 20, 2008

I went on a fantastic canoe trip in British Columbia. Our guide recited Robert Service by campfirelight and I've been hooked every since. Robert Service wrote rambling story poems that were drawn from his experiences in the far north of Canada.

Poetry to read aloud, memorize and share with kids. Great stuff here.
4

Aug 28, 2012

I don't think the poem quoted above (on Goodreads) instead of a book description is in this book?

There was a time when all kinds of people, many with no interest in poetry, quoted Service and Kipling and Omar K and then it became very unfashionable.

Service never called himself a poet and wrote strictly metrical rhyming verse. 'Songs of A Sourdough', is probably his best individual collection and contains most of the poems he's famous for; poems about the Yukon Gold Rush of the 1890s.

Even if I don't think the poem quoted above (on Goodreads) instead of a book description is in this book?

There was a time when all kinds of people, many with no interest in poetry, quoted Service and Kipling and Omar K and then it became very unfashionable.

Service never called himself a poet and wrote strictly metrical rhyming verse. 'Songs of A Sourdough', is probably his best individual collection and contains most of the poems he's famous for; poems about the Yukon Gold Rush of the 1890s.

Even if you take things like "The Law of the Yukon" with a pinch of salt and know he didn't actually dig gold during the Gold Rush and his trapper/miner/tramp persona is a fiction, 'The Trail of 98' has the best description of running rapids I've ever read, Dan McGrew and Sam McGee have entertained camp fires on several continents and he evokes the strange attraction of the stark natural beauty of wild landscapes in simple memorable terms.

The Collected trails away as it goes on, the sentimentality which is mostly under control in the Yukon poems starts to take over and the faintly archaic diction starts to grate. The rhyming becomes forced and obvious and the music of the early poems, his ability to create a line that sticks in the reader's head for a life time, deserted him. The Yukon gave him a subject matter that suited his talents. But for the great pieces he did write, most of which are in here, five stars.

from: The Spell of the Yukon

There's a land where the mountains are nameless
And the rivers all run God knows where
There are lives that are erring and aimless
And deaths that hang by a hair,
There are hardships that nobody reckons
There are valleys unpeopled and still
There's a land-it beckons and beckons
And i want to go back-And I will

...more
5

Jul 05, 2008

Immediately after hearing The Cremation of Sam Mcgee when I was ten I checked it out of the library and memorized it. I still know it entirely word for word. AAnd although the same can't be said for The Shooting of Sam Mcgraw, The Ballad of Blasphemous Bill, Clancy of the Mounties or The Spell of the Yukon they are all my among my favorite works of poetry.

"You are but a beat in times great heart"

Robert Service. Beautiful.
5

Sep 20, 2010

I have always loved the poetry of Robert W. Service as did my father before me and independently of both of us, my brother too. I little realised as a child that one day I would marry and move to the USA where my new Father in Law would recite these cherished poems for audiences. Fate eh?
5

Sep 19, 2011

This book should be required for any outing which includes a campfire! Of particular interest are the tail of the ice worm cocktail and the tale of Sam Mcgee.
3

Mar 23, 2012

I knew the title of a famous poem by Robert Service, The Cremation Of Sam McGee, but I wasn't sure if I had ever read it, so I read this book! His poems are easily understandable, full of colloquial language, surprising twists at the end, and very enjoyable.
4

Jan 30, 2008

Alaskana... a must read for people interested in Alaska and the Yukon.

"The Cremation of Sam McGee" is especially delightful, even if poetry isn't your thing (as it isn't really mine).

"Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee where the cotton blooms and blows..."
0

May 01, 2008

Five Stars! A magnificant collection of poetry covering Service's days in the frozen Yukon, as a Red Cross ambulance driver in WWI, and his days in Paris. Even if you think don't like poetry, you'll enjoy this!
5

Apr 16, 2016

BEST. POET. EVER.

At least for me, he is. I'm not a fan of rhyme schemes in my poetry, but it's a technique I can forgive in this poet. His work just has great depth, beautiful word choice, and a devotion to the exploration of man and nature which stirs me to the core. Best poetry compilation I've bought to date.
5

May 17, 2015

Hands down, my favorite poet. Anyone who closely read his diaries of his life as a Paris Bohemian, however, would know that he would demur at the label "poet," and call himself a mere "maker of verse." He is correct; there is a world of difference between Service's plain-spoken, sometimes lurid verse-based tales and the fancifulness of many a "higher poet," but that doesn't mean that Service's work is without art, beauty, or truth. There is hardly a single one of his poems that I don't love.
5

Sep 15, 2015

The Great Grandfather of Cowboy Poetry, I doubt if the was or is a western versifier that has not read the works of this master. Read it! Love it!

The Cremation of Sam McGee - By Robert W. Service

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.

The Great Grandfather of Cowboy Poetry, I doubt if the was or is a western versifier that has not read the works of this master. Read it! Love it!

The Cremation of Sam McGee - By Robert W. Service

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.

Continue at you leisure ... and pleasure! ...more
4

May 26, 2015

I first heard about this poet from ad for Yukon Jack. "There's a race of men that don't fit in, A race that can't stay still; So they break the hearts of kith and kin, And they roam the world at will."
He is probably not considered a great poet, but when you can get a guy to read poetry on his own, I think there is something to Robert Service. My favorite has become "The Cremation of Sam McGee". I probably have not read them all. He reminds me of O. Henry somehow, which seems about right since I I first heard about this poet from ad for Yukon Jack. "There's a race of men that don't fit in, A race that can't stay still; So they break the hearts of kith and kin, And they roam the world at will."
He is probably not considered a great poet, but when you can get a guy to read poetry on his own, I think there is something to Robert Service. My favorite has become "The Cremation of Sam McGee". I probably have not read them all. He reminds me of O. Henry somehow, which seems about right since I believe they were contemporaries. ...more
5

Aug 25, 2016

Hands down my favourite poet of all time. I carry this book with me wherever I go, wherever I travel. Robert has been a good Service to me. I deeply admire his prose and themes. His dark comedic ballads, pensive reflections on human nature, and his deep appreciation of beauty. He has captured the spirit of a restless man, bent on seeing the world, and incapable of fitting in with fast-paced, urban, high-flung society. A man who desires the simple things and cherishes beauty in all its forms. He Hands down my favourite poet of all time. I carry this book with me wherever I go, wherever I travel. Robert has been a good Service to me. I deeply admire his prose and themes. His dark comedic ballads, pensive reflections on human nature, and his deep appreciation of beauty. He has captured the spirit of a restless man, bent on seeing the world, and incapable of fitting in with fast-paced, urban, high-flung society. A man who desires the simple things and cherishes beauty in all its forms. He is a man after my own heart and his poem "A Rolling Stone" has become the anthem of my life. ...more
3

Jul 02, 2014

"I am not fool enough to think I am a poet, but I have a knack for rhyme and I love to make verses." -Mr. Service
I find this a good summery of Robert Service's Collected Poems, for although I enjoy his rhymes and verses they are all very straightforward and lack the creative and emotional charge I typically associate with poetry. Easy, enjoyable, and entertaining for the right audience I found myself skipping around the 700 pages without ever feeling drawn in by his words.
Overall: 3/5
Included in "I am not fool enough to think I am a poet, but I have a knack for rhyme and I love to make verses." -Mr. Service
I find this a good summery of Robert Service's Collected Poems, for although I enjoy his rhymes and verses they are all very straightforward and lack the creative and emotional charge I typically associate with poetry. Easy, enjoyable, and entertaining for the right audience I found myself skipping around the 700 pages without ever feeling drawn in by his words.
Overall: 3/5
Included in this compilation are Mr. Services books The Spell of The Yukon and Other Verses, Ballads of a Cheechako, Rhymes of a Rolling Stone, Rhymes of a Red Cross Man, Ballads of a Bohemian, and Bar-Room Ballads.
...more
5

Jan 01, 2015

Anyone out for some wonderful relaxation, pick this book up. I am not sure if your local book store would have it but I am sure your library would. This book is a collection of poetry by Robert Service. I came across this quite by accident and absolutely love his style. He was born in England in 1874, lived in Scotland, lived in Canada, Alaska, Turkey, back to England, France and was able to escape from France and back to the United States during the onset on war in Europe. His poetry is real Anyone out for some wonderful relaxation, pick this book up. I am not sure if your local book store would have it but I am sure your library would. This book is a collection of poetry by Robert Service. I came across this quite by accident and absolutely love his style. He was born in England in 1874, lived in Scotland, lived in Canada, Alaska, Turkey, back to England, France and was able to escape from France and back to the United States during the onset on war in Europe. His poetry is real and taken from his vagabond life, episodes realized and seen. When you read them you will see may you heard during life and probably had no idea who the author was. I started out looking for the poem "Face On The Barroom Floor" which I recall my grandmother reading to me. I thought it was by Mr. Service and found this to be not so and in the process found this poet. Magnificent poems. ...more
5

Feb 02, 2015

I grew up seeing this volume on my parents' bookshelf and now it is mine. This isn’t the kind of book that I read in a few days--it is 735 pages of poetry after all. I have been working on it for over a year, a few poems at a time. This collection includes six books: The Spell of the Yukon; Ballads of a Cheechako; Rhymes of a Rolling Stone; Rhymes of a Red Cross Man; Ballads of a Bohemian; and Bar-Room Ballads. Service’s best known poems--"The Shooting of Dan Mc Grew" and "The Cremation of Sam I grew up seeing this volume on my parents' bookshelf and now it is mine. This isn’t the kind of book that I read in a few days--it is 735 pages of poetry after all. I have been working on it for over a year, a few poems at a time. This collection includes six books: The Spell of the Yukon; Ballads of a Cheechako; Rhymes of a Rolling Stone; Rhymes of a Red Cross Man; Ballads of a Bohemian; and Bar-Room Ballads. Service’s best known poems--"The Shooting of Dan Mc Grew" and "The Cremation of Sam Mc Gee"--are included, of course. But my favorites are in Ballads of a Bohemian written just before and during World War I. He discourses briefly on the person or experience in his life that prompted him to write each poem. He also disavows being a poet and claims to just write rhymes. True, his rhymes are simple but they portray honest humor, pathos and spirituality in clear and straightforward language. I am glad to see that this book was reprinted in 1989. ...more

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