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Robert Service

Robert Service


My Book

Before I drink myself to death,
God, let me finish up my Book!
At night, I fear, I fight for breath,
And wake up whiter than a spook;
And crawl off to a bistro near,
And drink, until my brain is clear,

Rare Absinthe! Oh, it gives me strength
To write and write; and so I spend
Day after day, until at length
With joy and pain I’ll write The End:
Then let this carcass rot; I give
The world my Book – my Book will live.

For every line is tense with truth,
There’s hope and joy on every page;
A cheer, a clarion call to Youth, 
A hymn, a comforter for Age:
All’s there that I was meant to be,
My part divine, the God in me.

It’s of my life the golden sum;
Ah! Who that reads this Book of mine,
In stormy centuries to come,
Will dream I rooted with the swine?
Behold! I give mankind my best:
What does it matter, all the rest?

It’s this that makes sublime my day;
It’s this that makes me struggle on.
Oh, let them mock my mortal clay,
My spirit’s deathless like a dawn;
Oh, let them shudder as they look …
I’ll be immortal in my Book

And so beside the sullen Seine
I fight with dogs for filthy food,
Yet know that from my sin and pain
Will soar serene a Something Good;
Exultantly from shame and wrong 
A Right, a Glory and a Song.

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