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Robert Service

Robert Service

ROBERT SERVICE: The Rhyme of the Restless Ones

The Rhyme of the Restless Ones

(Fragment)
We couldn’t sit and study for the law;
   The stagnation of the bank we couldn’t stand;
For our riot blood was surging, and we didn’t need much urging
   To excitements and excesses that are banned. 
So we took to wine and drink and other things,
   And the devil in us struggled to be free;
Till our friends rose up and wrath, and they printed us the path,
   And they paid our debts and packed us o’er the sea.

Oh, they shook us off and shipped us o’er the foam,
To the larger lands that lure a man to roam;
   And we took the chance they gave
   Of a far and foreign grave,
And we bade good-by for evermore to home.

And some of us are climbing on the peak,
   And some of us are camping on the plain;
By pine and palm you’ll find us with no claim to bind us,
   By track and trail you’ll meet us once again.

We are fated serfs to freedom – sky and sea;
   We have failed where slummy cities overflow;
But the stranger ways of earth know our pride and know our worth,
   And we go into dark as fighters go.

Yes, we go into the night as brave men go,
Though our faces they be often streaked with woe;
   Yet we’re hard as cats to kill,
   And our hearts are reckless still,
And we’ve danced with death a dozen times or so…    



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