Ballads of Cheechako

Author: Robert Service  | Date: 1909

To the Man of the High North

My rhymes are rough, and often in my rhyming

I’ve drifted, silver-sailed, on seas of dream,

Hearing afar the bells of Elfland chiming,

Seeing the groves of Arcadie agleam.

I was the thrall of Beauty that rejoices

From peak snow-diademed to regal star;

Yet to mine aerie ever pierced the voices,

The pregnant voices of the Things That Are.

The Here, the Now, the vast Forlorn around us;

The gold-delirium, the ferine strife;

The lusts that lure us on, the hates that hound us;

Our red rags in the patch-work quilt of Life.

The nameless men who nameless rivers travel,

And in strange valleys greet strange deaths alone;

The grim, intrepid ones who would unravel

The mysteries that shroud the Polar Zone.

These will I sing, and if one of you linger

Over my pages in the Long, Long Night,

And on some lone line lay a calloused finger,

Saying: "It’s human-true- it hits me right";

Then will I count this loving toil well spent;

Then will I dream awhile- content, content.


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Chicago: Robert Service, "To the Man of the High North," Ballads of Cheechako Original Sources, accessed July 15, 2024,

MLA: Service, Robert. "To the Man of the High North." Ballads of Cheechako, Original Sources. 15 Jul. 2024.

Harvard: Service, R, 'To the Man of the High North' in Ballads of Cheechako. Original Sources, retrieved 15 July 2024, from