Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

The Lottery


"Young fellow, listen to a friend:
Beware of wedlock - 'tis a gamble,
It's MAN who holds the losing end
In every matrimonial scramble."

"Young lady, marriage mostly is
A cruel cross of hope's concealing.
A rarity is wedded bliss
And WOMAN gets the dirty dealing."

. . . Such my advice to man and maid,
But though they harken few will take it.
The parson plies his merry trade
The marriage seems much what you make it.

If Pa or Ma had counsel sought
Of me whose locks today are hoary,
And feared to tie the nuptial knot -
Would I be here to tell the story?

Nay, lad and lass, don't flout romance,
Nor heed this cynical old sinner;
Like bold Columbus take a chance,
And may your number be a winner.

Far be it from me to advise,
But in the marital relation
The safest bet is Compromise
And Mutual Consideration.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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