Ballads of a Cheechako / by Robert W. Service [electronic text]

About this Item

Title
Ballads of a Cheechako / by Robert W. Service [electronic text]
Author
Service, Robert W. (Robert William), 1874-1958
Publication
Toronto, Ont.: William Briggs
1911
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Pages

I.

Gold! We leapt from our benches. Gold! We sprang from our stools. Gold! We wheeled in the furrow, fired with the faith of fools. Fearless, unfound, unfitted, far from the night and the cold, Heard we the clarion summons, followed the master-lure & Gold!
Men from the sands of the Sunland; men from the woods of the West; Men from the farms and the cities, into the Northland we pressed. Graybeards and striplings and women, good men and bad men and bold, Leaving our homes and our loved ones, crying exultantly — "Gold!"
Never was seen such an army, pitiful, futile, unfit; Never was seen such a spirit, manifold courage and grit.

Page 105

Never has been such a cohort under one banner unrolled As surged to the ragged-edged Arctic, urged by the arch-tempter — Gold.
"Farewell!" we cried to our dearests; little we cared for their tears. "Farewell!" we cried to the humdrum and the yoke of the hireling years; Just like a pack of school-boys, and the big crowd cheered us good-bye. Never were hearts so uplifted, never were hopes so high.
The spectral shores flitted past us, and every whirl of the screw Hurled us nearer to fortune, and ever we planned what we'd do — Do with the gold when we got it — big, shiny nuggets like plums, There in the sand of the river, gouging it out with our thumbs.
And one man wanted a castle, another a racing stud; A third would cruise in a palace yacht like a red-necked prince of blood.

Page 106

And so we dreamed and we vaunted, millionaires to a man, Leaping to wealth in our visions long ere the trail began.
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