Click here to Download Ballads of a Cheechako PDF Book by Robert W. Service Language English having PDF Size 1 MB and No of Pages 45.
To the Man of the High North My rhymes are rough, and often in my rhyming Men of the High North Men of the High North, the wild sky is blazing; The Ballad of the Northern Lights One of the Down and Out—that’s me. Stare at me well, ay, stare!
Ballads of a Cheechako PDF Book by Robert W. Service
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The Ballad of the Black Fox Skin There was Claw-fingered Kitty and Windy Ike living the life of shame, The Ballad of Pious Pete I tried to refine that neighbor of mine, honest to God, I did. The Ballad of Blasphemous Bill I took a contract to bury the body of blasphemous Bill MacKie.
The Ballad of One-Eyed Mike This is the tale that was told to me by the man with the crystal eye, The Ballad of the Brand ‘Twas up in a land long famed for gold, where women were far and rare, The Ballad of Hard-Luck Henry Now wouldn’t you expect to find a man an awful crank The Man from Eldorado He’s the man from Eldorado.
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And he’s just arrived in town, My Friends The man above was a murderer, the man below was a thief; The Prospector I strolled up old Bonanza, where I staked in ninety-eight, The Black Sheep Hark to the ewe that bore him. Remember the year of the Big Stampede and the trail of Ninety-eight, When the eyes of the world were turned to the North.
And the hearts of men elate; Hearts of the old dare-devil breed thrilled at the wondrous strike, And to every man who could hold a pan came the message, “Up and hike”. Well, I was there with the best of them, and I knew I would not fail. You wouldn’t believe it to see me now; but wait till you’ve heard my tale.
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You’ve read of the trail of Ninety-eight, but its woe no man may tell; It was all of a piece and a whole yard wide, and the name of the brand was “Hell”. We heard the call and we staked our all; we were plungers playing blind, And no man cared how his neighbor fared, and no man looked behind.
For a ruthless greed was born of need, and the weakling went to the wall, And a curse might avail where a prayer would fail, and the gold lust crazed us all. Bold were we, and they called us three the “Unholy Trinity”; There was Ole Olson, the sailor Swede, and the Dago Kid and me.
We were the discards of the pack, the foreloopers of Unrest, Reckless spirits of fierce revolt in the ferment of the West. We were bound to win and we revelled in the hardships of the way. We staked our ground and our hopes were crowned, and we hoisted out the pay.
We were rich in a day beyond our dreams, it was gold from the grass-roots down; But we weren’t used to such sudden wealth, and there was the siren town. We were crude and careless frontiersmen, with much in us of the beast; We could bear the famine worthily, but we lost our heads at the feast. Ballads of a Cheechako PDF Book
The town looked mighty bright to us, with a bunch of dust to spend, And nothing was half too good them days, and everyone was our friend. Wining meant more than mining then, and life was a dizzy whirl, Gambling and dropping chunks of gold down the neck of a dance-hall girl; Till we went clean mad.
It seems to me, and we squandered our last poke, And we sold our claim, and we found ourselves one bitter morning—broke. The Dago Kid he dreamed a dream of his mother’s aunt who died— In the dawn-light dim she came to him, and she stood by his bedside, And she said.
“Go forth to the highest North till a lonely trail ye find; Follow it far and trust your star, and fortune will be kind.” But I jeered at him, and then there came the Sailor Swede to me, And he said: “I dreamed of my sister’s son, who croaked at the age of three. From the herded dead he sneaked and said. Ballads of a Cheechako PDF Book
`Seek you an Arctic trail; ‘Tis pale and grim by the Polar rim, but seek and ye shall not fail.'” And lo! that night I too did dream of my mother’s sister’s son, And he said to me: “By the Arctic Sea there’s a treasure to be won. Follow and follow a lone moose trail, till you come to a valley grim, On the slope of the lonely watershed that borders the Polar brim.”
Then I woke my pals, and soft we swore by the mystic Silver Flail, ‘Twas the hand of Fate, and to-morrow straight we would seek the lone moose trail. So we sewed him up in a canvas sack and we slung him to a tree; And the stars like needles stabbed our eyes, and woeful men were we.
And on we went on our woeful way, wrapped in a daze of dream, And the Northern Lights in the crystal nights came forth with a mystic gleam. They danced and they danced the devil-dance over the naked snow; And soft they rolled like a tide upshoaled with a ceaseless ebb and flow. Ballads of a Cheechako PDF Book
They rippled green with a wondrous sheen, they fluttered out like a fan; They spread with a blaze of rose-pink rays never yet seen of man. They writhed like a brood of angry snakes, hissing and sulphur pale; Then swift they changed to a dragon vast, lashing a cloven tail.
It seemed to us, as we gazed aloft with an everlasting stare, The sky was a pit of bale and dread, and a monster revelled there. We climbed the rise of a hog-back range that was desolate and drear, When the Sailor Swede had a crazy fit, and he got to talking queer.
He talked of his home in Oregon and the peach trees all in bloom, And the fern head-high, and the topaz sky, and the forest’s scented gloom. He talked of the sins of his misspent life, and then he seemed to brood, And I watched him there like a fox a hare, for I knew it was not good.
And sure enough in the dim dawn-light I missed him from the tent, And a fresh trail broke through the crusted snow, and I knew not where it went. But I followed it o’er the seamless waste, and I found him at shut of day, Naked there as a new-born babe—so I left him where he lay. Ballads of a Cheechako PDF Book
Day after day was sinister, and I fought fierce-eyed despair, And I clung to life, and I struggled on, I knew not why nor where. I packed my grub in short relays, and I cowered down in my tent, And the world around was purged of sound like a frozen continent.
Day after day was dark as death, but ever and ever at nights, With a brilliancy that grew and grew, blazed up the Northern Lights. They rolled around with a soundless sound like softly bruised silk; They poured into the bowl of the sky with the gentle flow of milk.
In eager, pulsing violet their wheeling chariots came, Or they poised above the Polar rim like a coronal of flame. From depths of darkness fathomless their lancing rays were hurled, Like the all-combining search-lights of the navies of the world. Ballads of a Cheechako PDF Book Download
There on the roof-pole of the world as one bewitched I gazed, And howled and grovelled like a beast as the awful splendors blazed. My eyes were seared, yet thralled I peered through the parka hood nigh blind; But I staggered on to the lights that shone, and never I looked behind.
I took a contract to bury the body of blasphemous Bill MacKie, Whenever, wherever or whatsoever the manner of death he die— Whether he die in the light o’ day or under the peak-faced moon; In cabin or dance-hall, camp or dive, mucklucks or patent shoon.
On velvet tundra or virgin peak, by glacier, drift or draw; In muskeg hollow or canyon gloom, by avalanche, fang or claw; By battle, murder or sudden wealth, by pestilence, hooch or lead— I swore on the Book I would follow and look till I found my tombless dead. Ballads of a Cheechako PDF Book Download
For Bill was a dainty kind of cuss, and his mind was mighty sot On a dinky patch with flowers and grass in a civilized bone-yard lot. And where he died or how he died, it didn’t matter a damn So long as he had a grave with frills and a tombstone “epigram”.
So I promised him, and he paid the price in good cheechako coin (Which the same I blowed in that very night down in the Tenderloin). Then I painted a three-foot slab of pine: “Here lies poor Bill MacKie”, And I hung it up on my cabin wall and I waited for Bill to die.
Years passed away, and at last one day came a squaw with a story strange, Of a long-deserted line of traps ‘way back of the Bighorn range; Of a little hut by the great divide, and a white man stiff and still, Lying there by his lonesome self, and I figured it must be Bill. Ballads of a Cheechako PDF Book Download
So I thought of the contract I’d made with him, and I took down from the shelf The swell black box with the silver plate he’d picked out for hisself; And I packed it full of grub and “hooch”, and I slung it on the sleigh; Then I harnessed up my team of dogs and was off at dawn of day.
You know what it’s like in the Yukon wild when it’s sixty-nine below; When the ice-worms wriggle their purple heads through the crust of the pale blue snow; When the pine-trees crack like little guns in the silence of the wood, And the icicles hang down like tusks under the parka hood.
When the stove-pipe smoke breaks sudden off, and the sky is weirdly lit, And the careless feel of a bit of steel burns like a red-hot spit; When the mercury is a frozen ball, and the frost-fiend stalks to kill— Well, it was just like that that day when I set out to look for Bill. Ballads of a Cheechako PDF Book Free
You know these Yukon eggs of ours—some pink, some green, some blue— A dollar per, assorted tints, assorted flavors too. The supercilious cheechako might designate them high, But one acquires a taste for them and likes them by-and-by. Well.
Hard-Luck Henry took this egg and held it to the light, And there was more faint pencilling that sorely taxed his sight. At last he made it out, and then the legend ran like this— “Will Klondike miner write to Peg, Plumhollow, Squashville, Wis.?” That night he got to thinking of this far-off, unknown fair; It seemed so sort of opportune, an answer to his prayer.
She flitted sweetly through his dreams, she haunted him by day, She smiled through clouds of nicotine, she cheered his weary way. At last he yielded to the spell; his course of love he set— Wisconsin his objective point; his object, Margaret. I strolled up old Bonanza. Ballads of a Cheechako PDF Book Free
The same old moon looked down; The same old landmarks seemed to yearn to me; But the cabins all were silent, and the flat, once like a town, Was mighty still and lonesome-like to see. There were piles and piles of tailings where we toiled with pick and pan, And turning round a bend I heard a roar.
And there a giant gold-ship of the very newest plan Was tearing chunks of pay-dirt from the shore. It wallowed in its water-bed; it burrowed, heaved and swung; It gnawed its way ahead with grunts and sighs; Its bill of fare was rock and sand; the tailings were its dung; It glared around with fierce electric eyes.
Full fifty buckets crammed its maw; it bellowed out for more; It looked like some great monster in the gloom. With two to feed its sateless greed, it worked for seven score, And I sighed: “Ah, old-time miner, here’s your doom!” Perhaps I am stark crazy, but there’s none of you too sane; It’s just a little matter of degree. Ballads of a Cheechako PDF Book Free
My hobby is to hunt out gold; it’s fortressed in my brain; It’s life and love and wife and home to me. And I’ll strike it, yes, I’ll strike it; I’ve a hunch I cannot fail; I’ve a vision, I’ve a prompting, I’ve a call; I hear the hoarse stampeding of an army on my trail, To the last, the greatest gold camp of them all.