Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

Robert William Service
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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 literary set, yet remain extremely popular to this day." Songs of a Sourdough has sold more than three million copies, making it the most commercially successful book of poetry of the 20th century.


Early Life

Robert W. Service was born in Preston, Lancashire, England, ... more »

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more quotations »
  • ''“Some praise the Lord for Light,
    The living spark;
    I thank God for the Night
    The healing dark.”''
    Robert W. Service
  • ''“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.” ''
    Robert W. Service, Ballads of a Bohemian
  • “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...
    Robert W. Service
  • “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 stor...
    Robert W. Service, The Spell of the Yukon and Other Verses
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Comments about Robert William Service

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  • Mo (Maureen O''Connor) de Koff (9/7/2018 5:19:00 PM)

    Also, I believe it may be a typo in the second stanza, third line, of Robert William Service's poem Resignation, to begin that line alone with a lowercase o - especially as the second line ends with a period. It should read: Or, as I wear my collars high, how laundry men would gloat!

  • Mo (Maureen O''Connor) de Koff (9/7/2018 5:15:00 PM)

    The first line of Robert William Service's poem Resignation, should read:
    I'd hate to be a centipede (of legs I've only two) ,
    The poem is written in Iambic heptameter (7 beats=14 syllables, or beats) . Not only does it start the poem out incorrectly with poor context, without the a, the meter and rhythm is thrown off, as well.

  • Dr..Marshall l. Goodwin (8/24/2018 4:53:00 AM)

    I have sat around the dinner table in our log cabin up in northern Maine and recited Services poems to my sons, grandsons and friends. Wonderful memories!

  • Richard Thompson (6/2/2018 11:52:00 AM)

    I have memorized and delivered many of the Robert Service poetry at clubs and private parties.

  • Sameer verma (5/24/2018 1:52:00 AM)

    Nice poem

  • Cleveland Gibson (4/17/2018 7:47:00 AM)

    I read the 'shooting of Dan' and learnt it by heart.
    It was an experience, I used to say it to my son' and he enjoyed it.
    I ought to point out at that time I'd never written any poetry.
    Next I read 'The Highwayman' and wrote a tribute poem called 'After The Highwayman. I might now consider writing something in the Robert Service vein. Who knows? '

  • Mayank (4/11/2018 9:19:00 AM)


  • Ronald Wheeler (3/26/2018 5:36:00 PM)

    Anybody who criticizes Robert W. Service is not only an -hole who knows nothing about poetry, but is severely lacking in intelligence.

  • Leonard Gill (3/18/2018 5:43:00 PM)

    Looking for a poem by Robert Service that Begins 'There were two artists A & B

  • Ronald G. Wheeler (2/2/2018 10:03:00 AM)

    Wrote over 800 poems, surely more than any other poet. My favorites: 'Cocotte' and 'Little moccasins.'

Read all 27 comments »
Best Poem of Robert William Service

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;
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 ...

Read the full of The Cremation Of Sam Mcgee
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