The Spell of the Yukon
The Spell of the Yukon
BY ROBERT W. SERVICE
I wanted the gold, and I sought it;
I scrabbled and mucked like a slave.
Was it famine or scurvyóI fought it;
I hurled my youth into a grave.
I wanted the gold, and I got itó
Came out with a fortune last fall,ó
Yet somehow lifeís not what I thought it,
And somehow the gold isnít all.
No! Thereís the land. (Have you seen it?)
Itís the cussedest land that I know,
From the big, dizzy mountains that screen it
To the deep, deathlike valleys below.
Some say God was tired when He made it;
Some say itís a fine land to shun;
Maybe; but thereís some as would trade it
For no land on earthóand Iím one.
You come to get rich (damned good reason);
You feel like an exile at first;
You hate it like hell for a season,
And then you are worse than the worst.
It grips you like some kinds of sinning;
It twists you from foe to a friend;
It seems itís been since the beginning;
It seems it will be to the end.
Iíve stood in some mighty-mouthed hollow
Thatís plumb-full of hush to the brim;
Iíve watched the big, husky sun wallow
In crimson and gold, and grow dim,
Till the moon set the pearly peaks gleaming,
And the stars tumbled out, neck and crop;
And Iíve thought that I surely was dreaming,
With the peace oí the world piled on top.
The summeróno sweeter was ever;
The sunshiny woods all athrill;
The grayling aleap in the river,
The bighorn asleep on the hill.
The strong life that never knows harness;
The wilds where the caribou call;
The freshness, the freedom, the farnessó
O God! how Iím stuck on it all.
The winter! the brightness that blinds you,
The white land locked tight as a drum,
The cold fear that follows and finds you,
The silence that bludgeons you dumb.
The snows that are older than history,
The woods where the weird shadows slant;
The stillness, the moonlight, the mystery,
Iíve bade íem good-byóbut I canít.
Thereís a land where the mountains are nameless,
And the rivers all run God knows where;
There are lives that are erring and aimless,
And deaths that just hang by a hair;
There are hardships that nobody reckons;
There are valleys unpeopled and still;
Thereís a landóoh, it beckons and beckons,
And I want to go backóand I will.
Theyíre making my money diminish;
Iím sick of the taste of champagne.
Thank God! when Iím skinned to a finish
Iíll pike to the Yukon again.
Iíll fightóand you bet itís no sham-fight;
Itís hell!óbut Iíve been there before;
And itís better than this by a damsiteó
So me for the Yukon once more.
Thereís gold, and itís haunting and haunting;
Itís luring me on as of old;
Yet it isnít the gold that Iím wanting
So much as just finding the gold.
Itís the great, big, broad land íway up yonder,
Itís the forests where silence has lease;
Itís the beauty that thrills me with wonder,
Itís the stillness that fills me with peace.
Source: The Best of Robert Service (1953)