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The Law Of The Yukon

Rating: 5.0

This is the law of the Yukon, and ever she makes it plain:
"Send not your foolish and feeble; send me your strong and your sane --
Strong for the red rage of battle; sane for I harry them sore;
Send me men girt for the combat, men who are grit to the core;
Swift as the panther in triumph, fierce as the bear in defeat,
Sired of a bulldog parent, steeled in the furnace heat.
Send me the best of your breeding, lend me your chosen ones;
Them will I take to my bosom, them will I call my sons;
Them will I gild with my treasure, them will I glut with my meat;
But the others -- the misfits, the failures -- I trample under my feet.

Dissolute, damned and despairful, crippled and palsied and slain,
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John Long 20 January 2014

If I'm not mistaken, this poem is engraved on a state building (across from the capital) in Sacramento, CA. I've wondered what it meant, and why it was engraved, ever since I first saw it, on that building.

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Brian Purdy 11 February 2012

Well now, how stirring to the blood is this? Nothing subtle about the approach or the execution but that was not the intention. What it sets out to do it does full-measure. I doubt this style of verse-making has ever been done better. England bore him but the Yukon made him.

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