The Spell of the Yukon and Other Verses

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Author: Robert Service  | Date: 1916

on this night of the glad New Year, Shuffling along in the icy wind, ghastly and gaunt and slow. They’re playing a tune in McGuffy’s saloon,

and it’s cheery and bright in there (God! but I’m weak- since the bitter dawn,

and never a bite of food); I’ll just go over and slip inside-

I mustn’t give way to despair- Perhaps I can bum a little booze if the boys are feeling good. They’ll jeer at me, and they’ll sneer at me,

and they’ll call me a whiskey soak; ("Have a drink? Well, thankee kindly, sir,

I don’t mind if I do.") A drivelling, dirty, gin-joint fiend,

the butt of the bar-room joke; Sunk and sodden and hopeless- "Another? Well, here’s to you!" McGuffy is showing a bunch of the boys how Bob Fitzsimmons hit; The barman is talking of Tammany Hall,

and why the ward boss got fired. I’ll just sneak into a corner and they’ll let me alone a bit; The room is reeling round and round...

O God! but I’m tired, I’m tired.... Roses she wore on her breast that night.

Oh, but their scent was sweet! Alone we sat on the balcony, and the fan-palms arched above; The witching strain of a waltz by Strauss

came up to our cool retreat, And I prisoned her little hand in mine,

and I whispered my plea of love. Then sudden the laughter died on her lips,

and lowly she bent her head; And oh, there came in the deep, dark eyes

a look that was heaven to see; And the moments went, and I waited there,

and never a word was said, And she plucked from her bosom a rose of red

and shyly gave it to me. Then the music swelled to a crash of joy,

and the lights blazed up like day, And I held her fast to my throbbing heart,

and I kissed her bonny brow. "She is mine, she is mine for evermore!"

the violins seemed to say, And the bells were ringing the New Year in-

O God! I can hear them now. Don’t you remember that long, last waltz,

with its sobbing, sad refrain? Don’t you remember that last good-by,

and the dear eyes dim with tears? Don’t you remember that golden dream, with never a hint of pain, Of lives that would blend like an angel-song

in the bliss of the coming years? Oh, what have I lost! What have I lost!

Ethel, forgive, forgive! The red, red rose is faded now, and it’s fifty years ago. ’Twere better to die a thousand deaths

than live each day as I live! I have sinned, I have sunk to the lowest depths-

but oh, I have suffered so! Hark! Oh, hark! I can hear the bells!...

Look! I can see her there, Fair as a dream...but it fades...And now-

I can hear the dreadful hum Of the crowded court...See! the Judge looks down...

NOT GUILTY, my Lord, I swear... The bells- I can hear the bells again!...

Ethel, I come, I come!... "Rouse up, old man, it’s twelve o’clock.

You can’t sleep here, you know. Say! ain’t you got no sentiment? Lift up your muddled head; Have a drink to the glad New Year, a drop before you go- You darned old dirty hobo...My God! Here, boys! He’s DEAD!"

COMFORT

Comfort Say! You’ve struck a heap of trouble- Bust in business, lost your wife; No one cares a cent about you, You don’t care a cent for life; Hard luck has of hope bereft you, Health is failing, wish you’d die- Why, you’ve still the sunshine left you And the big, blue sky. Sky so blue it makes you wonder If it’s heaven shining through; Earth so smiling ’way out yonder, Sun so bright it dazzles you; Birds a-singing, flowers a-flinging All their fragrance on the breeze; Dancing shadows, green, still meadows- Don’t you mope, you’ve still got these. These, and none can take them from you; These, and none can weigh their worth. What! you’re tired and broke and beaten?- Why, you’re rich- you’ve got the earth! Yes, if you’re a tramp in tatters, While the blue sky bends above You’ve got nearly all that matters- You’ve got God, and God is love.
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Chicago: Robert Service, "On This Night of the Glad New Year, Shuffling Along in the Icy Wind, Ghastly and Gaunt and Slow. They’re Playing a Tune in McGuffy’s Saloon,," The Spell of the Yukon and Other Verses in Library of the Future ® 4th Edition Ver. 5.0 (Irvine, CA: World Library, Inc., 1996), Original Sources, accessed April 26, 2018, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=CR1UFCJN8F44BNV.

MLA: Service, Robert. "On This Night of the Glad New Year, Shuffling Along in the Icy Wind, Ghastly and Gaunt and Slow. They’re Playing a Tune in McGuffy’s Saloon,." The Spell of the Yukon and Other Verses, in Library of the Future ® 4th Edition Ver. 5.0, Irvine, CA, World Library, Inc., 1996, Original Sources. 26 Apr. 2018. www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=CR1UFCJN8F44BNV.

Harvard: Service, R, 'On This Night of the Glad New Year, Shuffling Along in the Icy Wind, Ghastly and Gaunt and Slow. They’re Playing a Tune in McGuffy’s Saloon,' in The Spell of the Yukon and Other Verses. cited in 1996, Library of the Future ® 4th Edition Ver. 5.0, World Library, Inc., Irvine, CA. Original Sources, retrieved 26 April 2018, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=CR1UFCJN8F44BNV.