The Heart of the Sourdough

Melody -

Robert W. Service, 1874-1958

There where the mighty mountains
Bare their fangs unto the moon;
There where the sullen sun-dogs glare
In the snow-bright, bitter noon,
And the glacier-glutted streams sweep down
At the clarion call of June.

There where the livid tundras keep
Their tryst with the tranquil snows;
There where the silences are spawned,
And the light of hell-fire flows
Into the bowl of the midnight sky,
Violet, amber and rose.

There where the rapids churn and roar,
And the ice-floes bellowing run;
Where the tortured, twisted rivers of blood
Rush to the setting sun —
I've packed my kit and I'm going, boys,
Ere another day is done.

* * * * *                

I knew it would call, or soon or late,
As it calls the whirring wings;
It's the olden lure, it's the golden lure,
It's the lure of the timeless things;
And to-night, oh, God of the trails untrod,
How it whines in my heart-strings!

I'm sick to death of your well-groomed gods,
Your make believe and your show;
I long for a whiff of bacon and beans,
A snug shakedown in the snow;
A trail to break, and a life at stake,
And another bout with the foe.

With the raw-ribbed Wild that abhors all life,
The Wild that would crush and rend,
I have clinched and closed with the naked North,
I have learned to defy and defend;
Shoulder to shoulder we have fought it out —
Yet the Wild must win in the end.

I have flouted the Wild; I have followed its lure,
Fearless, familiar, alone;
By all that the battle means and makes
I claim that land for mine own;
Yet the Wild must win, and a day will come
When I shall be overthrown.

Then when as wolf-dogs fight we've fought,
The lean wolf-land and I;
Fought and bled till the snows are red
Under the reeling sky;
Even as lean wolf-dog goes down
Will I go down and die.

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