Robert William Service

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Robert William Service Biography

a poet and writer who has often been called "the Bard of the Yukon".

Service is best known for his poems "The Shooting of Dan McGrew" and "The Cremation of Sam McGee", from his first book, Songs of a Sourdough (1907; also published as The Spell of the Yukon and Other Verses). "These humorous tales in verse were considered doggerel by the literar ...

Robert William Service Poems

The Cremation Of Sam Mcgee

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;

A Hero

Three times I had the lust to kill,
To clutch a throat so young and fair,
And squeeze with all my might until
No breath of being lingered there.

A Grain Of Sand

If starry space no limit knows
And sun succeeds to sun,
There is no reason to suppose
Our earth the only one.

Home And Love

Just Home and Love! the words are small
Four little letters unto each;
And yet you will not find in all
The wide and gracious range of speech


If you had the choice of two women to wed,
(Though of course the idea is quite absurd)
And the first from her heels to her dainty head
Was charming in every sense of the word:

Robert William Service Quotes

20 April 2016

“Some praise the Lord for Light, The living spark; I thank God for the Night The healing dark.”

20 April 2016

“I like to think that when I fall, A rain-drop in Deaths shoreless sea, This shelf of books along the wall, Beside my bed, will mourn for me.”

20 April 2016

“The Quitter When youre lost in the Wild, and youre scared as a child, And Death looks you bang in the eye, And youre sore as a boil, its according to Hoyle To cock your revolver and . . . die. But the Code of a Man says: "Fight all you can," And self-dissolution is barred. In hunger and woe, oh, its easy to blow . . . Its the hell-served-for-breakfast thats hard. "Youre sick of the game!" Well, now, thats a shame. Youre young and youre brave and youre bright. "Youve had a raw deal!" I know -- but dont squeal, Buck up, do your damnedest, and fight. Its the plugging away that will win you the day, So dont be a piker, old pard! Just draw on your grit; its so easy to quit: Its the keeping-your-chin-up thats hard. Its easy to cry that youre beaten -- and die; Its easy to crawfish and crawl; But to fight and to fight when hopes out of sight -- Why, thats the best game of them all! And though you come out of each gruelling bout, All broken and beaten and scarred, Just have one more try -- its dead easy to die, Its the keeping-on-living thats hard.”

20 April 2016

“Have you suffered, starved and triumphed, grovelled down, yet grasped at glory, Grown bigger in the bigness of the whole? Done things just for the doing, letting babblers tell the story, Seeing through the nice veneer the naked soul? Have you seen God in His splendours, heard the text that nature renders? (Youll never hear it in the family pew.) The simple things, the true things, the silent men who do things– Then listen to the wild–its calling you.”

Robert William Service Comments

Mag Uidhir 21 April 2012

Sara. I can only assume you are American. Have you ever heard the phrase Ugly American? It is a derogatory term for Americans who travel to foreign destinations and completely ignore the culture there, eat at McDonalds, drink Bud Lite then go home and tell their friends that Paris was boring because the only restaurant they could find was McDonalds. Ugly Americans also like to brag about how great they are and take credit for things that aren't theirs. Such is your statement that Robert Service was the most important AMERICAN storyteller of this century. You may be shocked by this but Service was born in England then emigrated to Canada where he became a CANADIAN cultural treasure. A short biography is on this site. Please read it.

76 81 Reply
Calico Jack 23 April 2012

HAHA! Nice one Mag Uidhur. I cracked up reading your comment. Its about time somebody dropped some knowledge on the ignoramuses.

64 63 Reply
James Banville 15 August 2015

Rubbish. How can anyone but a moron take this drivel seriously? Wordsworth must be spinning in his grave.

11 96 Reply
Koena Mokoena 24 October 2011

Hey yo! i am one of the young up & coming poet, who is trying to establish my career across the globe. Hence, i have friends in Pakistan, United Kingdom, Turkey, America & India. So, i want to thank you for advising me about my life, because i have obtain my peace of mind, due to your poem by the name of ' Home & love'. I finally understand the reason behind my challenges as a first born, because my Father doesn't have time to teach me. So, you have made my day with your creativity, because it sounds as if you saw it from the beginning...Have a nice day! Mr. Koena France Mokoena Country: South Africa Website: Contact number: +27710329734.

44 58 Reply
Rich Persoff 22 January 2014

Interestingly enough, the ugly American was an unhandsome person who (as I remember from having read the book more than 40 years ago) was a particularly nice guy and did a lot for the local people. Unfortunate but understandable, that his nickname has become an epithet for the kind of person Mag describes, but whom he most decidedly was not!

46 48 Reply
Kumarmani Mahakul 25 October 2020

Robert William Service is a very famous poet in this world. His poems are very much philosophic, valuable and beneficial for society time to time. He has remained in the core of hearts of many readers and visitors. Reading his poems we get immense joy. He is ranked #29 on top 500 poets of the world as per the database information on date 25 October 2020.

3 1 Reply
Ruth Sullivan 26 August 2020

Many years ago I wrote a play for a Sweet Adeline show using bits and pieces of Robert Service's poems. I had an idea for the story, then found his poems I could use. I used enough of the poem that you knew it but then made some subtle changes to go with the story. It was challenging but fun. And introduced people to his poetry. I can't remember the year I did this but it was in the late 60's.

1 0 Reply
Suzanne Newkirk 23 August 2020

I am looking for a poem about a man that dies and stands before Peter at the Gate. The man had not lived a good life and there was none that would say a good word for him. At last when Peter asked if anyone could vouch for the man a small kitten came forward. It's driving me nuts. Any help?

1 0 Reply
Peggy 07 May 2020

This is my Favorite poet

1 0 Reply
paul armstrong 30 August 2019

the composer of the most exciting poetry ever

2 2 Reply