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The Spell of the Yukon and Other Verses
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The Spell of the Yukon and Other Verses

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  392 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews thank you for your continued support and wish to present you this new edition. This text was also published (in Britain) under the title, "Songs of a Sourdough." ]
ebook, 37 pages
Published December 3rd 2010 by Pubone.Info (first published 1907)
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Peter Pactor I am unfamiliar with Country Joe McDonald or "War. War. War." However, If you would like to read Robert Service's book, "Rhymes of a Red Cross Man," I…moreI am unfamiliar with Country Joe McDonald or "War. War. War." However, If you would like to read Robert Service's book, "Rhymes of a Red Cross Man," I think you will greatly appreciate it. I have read it before several years ago, and I am about to read it again.(less)
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The collection of poetry is very, very dear to my heart. My father owned this book, and despite its weight, carried it with him any time he went rock climbing or back packing. Later, when we were children sitting at the campfire Dad would recite the longer poems to us- Cremation of Sam McGee, Spell of the Yukon, and the Shooting of Dan McGrew- all from memory. They were good times.

I eventually found the exact same copy type that my dad had carried with him all those years at a library sale. No
Nov 08, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I find reviewing poetry really difficult, so I don't have anything particularly brilliant to say. I loved this book a lot. It's authentic Canadian pioneer days, gold rush stuff, and it's got the meter of Scottish drinking songs. I read quite a lot of it out loud -- couldn't help it, it begs to be sung if at all possible.

Parts are paeans to how awesome men (sic) who are strong and adventurous enough to survive life in the Yukon are and how they don't want any weaklings or cripples. Other parts ar
Bcoghill Coghill
Feb 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
A must read for everyone who has lived in Alaska or the Yukon. This is our poetry legacy.
Apr 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Guys and fur traders.
A poet of such power and simplicity deserves better than the long-winded analysis elsewhere. Service is funny, earthy, and a great writer.
"The cremation of Dan McGee" is one of the best poems ever.."The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see..."
Rebecca Lewitt
Dec 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
interesting view of life in the Yukon. Gritty at times. I liked best the poems about nature, but the story poems were interesting too.
Mark Nenadov
Great poems!
Erich Angermayr
Jan 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent Poems from the Yukon

I discovered this little book in a bookstore in Whitehorse. That was back in 1996, 100 years after the Klondike gold rush. I hauled it, together with a bunch of other books, over the Chilkoot Pass. I read it in during the long nights lit by the midnight sun. It was with me in the canoe while paddling the Yukon River. Robert Services poems never left me since. I'm glad I found the Kindle version now. If you love wilderness, adventure, and a piece of history of the No
Gerald Koskinen
Thank goodness this was a short book. I asked a patient what his favorite book was and followed through my quest and read it. A poetry book, which I am fine with, but skip to page 26 “The Cremation of Sam McGee” it’s one of a few good ones. Better yet, take my word for it!
Jan 16, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I did like the language he used in his poetry. Especially, his description of the Yukon. His descriptions bring vivid images to my mind and they are very accurate because I live in Alaska.

The actual emotion evoked by the poetry was very sad and very lonely.

Some of my favorite lines/quotes:
"I'm wanting so much as just finding the gold. It's the great, big, broad land 'way up yonder,
It's the forests where silence has lease;
It's the beauty that thrills me with wonder,
It's the stillness that fill
Peter Pactor
Jul 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read this book several times, but I bought this copy, the 1907 edition, and decided to read it again.

Robert Service was Ronald Reagan's favorite poet, but he has been one of mine since I first heard "The Cremation of Sam McGee sixty years ago. Reading his works at different stages of my life has had different effects on me—all of them positive.

I enjoy how his words whack together, whether with internal rhyme, anaphora, alliteration, etc. They catch the flavor of the topic of his poem. T
May 06, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: early-westerns
Robert W. Service (1874-1958) burst upon the scene in 1907 with this collection of poems, published first in Canada as Songs of a Sourdough, where it was an immediate success. Born of a Scots family in England, he was living at the time in Whitehorse, Yukon, as an employee of the Canadian Bank of Commerce. He had already knocked about the West from Mexico to Vancouver. The bank job seems to have been an attempt to settle down and draw a regular paycheck.

He had been writing poems from boyhood and
Shana Feltham
This book is a compilation of poems talking about nature and adventure in the wilderness. I am not usually a big fan of poetry however, this book holds a particularly special memory to me. When I was younger, before my mom got both hips replaced and my dad both knees, together as a family we loved hiking. We would always adventure out on weekends to explore new trails and seek new sights, and every time we go out, we would bring this book. When we got to wherever we were going, or if we sat down ...more
Jan 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of my earliest memories is of my grandfather reading to me from this tome, so I was delighted to recently rediscover Robert Service. I am not generally a fan of poetry collections, but this one is special. Robert Service had a magical knack for putting the beauty of Alaska into poetry. Though most readers know him for his humor and storytelling, for me his strongest suit is his ability to put grandeur and emotion into words. His ability to describe the feelings from listening to piano music ...more
Joanne G.
Feb 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I was helping to clean out my mother-in-law's home after her death, I found this tiny volume printed in 1907. It was given as a graduation gift to someone in our family, but everyone is gone who could have told me. My husband had been watching a show about gold mining in Alaska; the show and the scenery intrigued me into reading the book. What a difficult time people had at the turn of the previous century in merely surviving in the wild Yukon, much less finding their fortune. Service's poe ...more
Samuel Wells
Apr 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Robert Service was a poet of wild places and raw humanity. Yet his metrical poetry rhymes to the beat of a human heart. It can be muscular and irreverent at times but it is truly a human voice worth knowing. In this collection are gathered: The Cremation of Sam McGee, The Spell of the Yukon, The Pines, and many more. There are still alive today those that will quote Robert Service if the night is just right and the campfire smolders to a comfortable glow. A new generation might stoke these flame ...more
Jul 06, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Robert Service, the bard of the Yukon, was born in England. While he knocked about a bit as a youth, he mostly worked in banks in Canada. His rough verses celebrate the hard, dangerous life of the loners who worked and fought in the wildernesses of the world, particularly the Yukon. Despite the condescensions of contemporary poets, his work was wildly popular and ultimately made him rich. A prolific writer, he went on to write novels and many other volumes of verse. This was his first published ...more
Jan 30, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Jack London + Rudyard Kipling.

Also known as Songs of a Sourdough, this is a collection of wonderfully rhythmic verse about Klondike speculators, wild men, tramps, gamblers, and adventurers down on their luck.

The two greatest hits are here--"The Shooting of Dan McGrew" and the even better "The Cremation of Sam McGee"--but there are few others, including "Fighting Mac" which blends Kipling-level jingoism with a poignancy. The true story, which I didn't know, is also worth investigating.

Some of it
Robert Service has an interesting perspective on life and nature. He does have some really odd stuff here, even harsh and hard to take. But he does capture, I believe, the spirit of many of those who went to the frozen north more than 100 years ago to seek wealth in the gold fields. "The Cremation of Sam McGee" is one of my favorites. And I heard it was one of Pres. Ronald Reagan's favorites too.

This book is in the public domain and I downloaded it free on the Kindle App on my Android phone.
Mar 12, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Service was a Brit who was drawn by the lure of the Yukon in the 19th Century. He wrote some great poems about the pull of nature and adventure, a common reaction to the Industrial Revolution and it's constraints on freedom and nature. Unfortunately, they are all pretty similar. Still, good stuff and easy to read. A kid would appreciate these poems, if you could get one to read them.
Jan 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"But the stars throng out in their glory,
And they sing of the God in man;
They sing of the Mighty Master,
Of the loom his fingers span,
Where a star or a soul is part of the whole,
And weft in the wondrous plan."
Feb 05, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Shelf: Rejected until further notice.
Jan 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to JeanAnn by:
Reviewed by Bill, January 2011

So good to hear read aloud by Bill.
Shane Lee boteler

Service gives you many points of view. From man, women, and child. Land, sea, and air. Right, wrong, or indifferent. This is a fun read.
Mar 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Matthew Lee
Nov 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I only ever knew "The Cremation of Sam McGee", but I enjoyed this whole collection of poems: mournful, dark, strange, hard, and yet full of life.
Aug 26, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Among Service's famous tried and true rhymes, I found a new favorite, "The Tramps". The racism and sexism of the day pops into some of his poems.
Brian Cooke
Jul 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading this made me want to run outside and make a start for the nearest mountain. It's been a long time since something spurred the naturalist in me to this extent.
Erin Thomas
Feb 18, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Very old book. Typefacing is too wide, forcing most of the lines to wrap. But, it's a book I prize dearly because it's from one of my favorite poets and it's more than a century old.
Feb 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An energetic, blistering poetic account of Robert Service's Yukon experiences. I like to think of him as the Jack London of poetry.
Sep 22, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic
This author is the Banjo Patterson equivalent of the Yukon/Alaska. The poems are fun, and evoke a different era.
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Robert William Service was born into a Scottish family while they were living in Preston, England. He was schooled in Scotland, attending Hillhead High School in Glasgow. He moved to Canada at the age of 21 when he gave up his job working in a Glasgow bank, and traveled to Vancouver Island, British Columbia with his Buffalo Bill outfit and dreams of becoming a cowboy.

He drifted around western Nor
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“There’s gold, and it’s haunting and haunting;
It’s luring me on as of old;
Yet it isn’t the gold that I’m wanting
So much as just finding the gold.
It’s the great, big, broad land ’way up yonder,
It’s the forests where silence has lease;
It’s the beauty that thrills me with wonder,
It’s the stillness that fills me with peace.”
“Let us probe the silent places, let us seek what luck betide us;
Let us journey to a lonely land I know.
There's a whisper on the night-wind, there's a star agleam to guide us,
And the Wild is calling, calling...let us go”
More quotes…