Robert William Service |
I like to think that when I fall,
A rain-drop in Death's shoreless sea,
This shelf of books along the wall,
Beside my bed, will mourn for me.
Aye, my taste is *****.
Some of my bards you may disdain.
Shakespeare and Milton are not here;
Shelly and Keats you seek in vain.
Wordsworth, Tennyson, Browning too,
Remarkably are not in view.
Who are they? Omar first you see,
With Vine and Rose and Nightingale,
Voicing my pet philosphy
Of Wine and Song.
Then Reading Gaol,
Where Fate a gruesome pattern makes,
And dawn-light shudders as it wakes.
The Ancient Mariner is next,
With eerie and terrific text;
The Burns, with pawky human touch -
Poor devil! I have loved him much.
And now a gay quartette behold:
Bret Harte and Eugene Field are here;
And Henly, chanting brave and bold,
And Chesteron, in praise of Beer.
Lastly come valiant Singers three;
To whom this strident Day belongs:
Kipling, to whom I bow the knee,
Masefield, with rugged sailor songs.
And to my lyric troupe I add
With greatful heart - The Shropshire Lad.
Behold my minstrels, just eleven.
For half my life I've loved them well.
And though I have no hope of Heaven,
And more than Highland fear of Hell,
May I be damned if on this shelf
ye find a rhyme I made myself.
Bret Harte |
O JOY of creation,
O rapture, to fly
And be free!
Be the battle lost or won,
Though its smoke shall hide the sun,
I shall find my love--the one
Born for me!
I shall know him where he stands
With the power in his hands
I shall know him by his face,
By his godlike front and grace;
I shall hold him for a space
All my own!
It is he--O my love!
It is I--all thy love
It is I--O love, what bliss!
Dost thou answer to my kiss?
O sweetheart! what is this
Lieth there so cold?
Robert William Service |
Alas! I am only a rhymer,
I don't know the meaning of Art;
But I learned in my little school primer
To love Eugene Field and Bret Harte.
I hailed Hoosier Ryley with pleasure,
To John Hay I took off my hat;
These fellows were right to my measure,
And I've never gone higher than that.
The Classics! Well, most of them bore me,
The Moderns I don't understand;
But I keep Burns, my kinsman before me,
And Kipling, my friend, is at hand.
They taught me my trade as I know it,
Yet though at their feet I have sat,
For God-sake don't call me a poet,
For I've never been guilty of that.
A rhyme-rustler, rugged and shameless,
A Bab Balladeer on the loose;
Of saccarine sonnets I'm blameless,
My model has been - Mother Goose.
And I fancy my grave-digger griping
As he gives my last lodging a pat:
"This guy wrote McGrew;
'Twas the best he could do" .
So I'll go to my maker with that.
Henry Lawson |
While you use your best endeavour to immortalise in verse
The gambling and the drink which are your country's greatest curse,
While you glorify the bully and take the spieler's part --
You're a clever southern writer, scarce inferior to Bret Harte.
If you sing of waving grasses when the plains are dry as bricks,
And discover shining rivers where there's only mud and sticks;
If you picture `mighty forests' where the mulga spoils the view --
You're superior to Kendall, and ahead of Gordon too.
If you swear there's not a country like the land that gave you birth,
And its sons are just the noblest and most glorious chaps on earth;
If in every girl a Venus your poetic eye discerns,
You are gracefully referred to as the `young Australian Burns'.
But if you should find that bushmen -- spite of all the poets say --
Are just common brother-sinners, and you're quite as good as they --
You're a drunkard, and a liar, and a cynic, and a sneak,
Your grammar's simply awful and your intellect is weak.