Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

Belated Bard


The songs I made from joy of earth
In wanton wandering,
Are rapturous with Maytime mirth
And ectasy of Spring.
But all the songs I sing today
Take tediously the ear:
Novemberishly dark are they
With mortuary fear.

For half a century has gone
Since first I rang a rhyme;
And that is long to linger on
The tolerance of Time.
This blue-veined hand with which I write
Yet answers to my will;
Though four-score years I count to-night
I am unsilent still.

"Senile old fool!" I hear you say;
"Beside the dying fire
You huddle and stiff-fingered play
Your tired and tinny lyre."
Well, though your patience I may try,
Bear with me yet awhile,
And though you scorn my singing I
Will thank you with a smile.

For I such soul-delighting joy
Have found in simple rhyme,
Since first a happy-hearted boy
I coaxed a word to chime,
That ere I tryst with Mother Earth
Let from my heart arise
A song of youth and starry mirth . . .
Then close my eyes.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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