The Hemisphere: The Yukon Troubadour

As a poet, Robert William Service never sought the level of Percy Bysshe Shelley, would have been as out of place on Parnassus as Shelley in a Klondike saloon. The rhymes that made Service a millionaire w'ooed none of the nine Muses. They reek of male shenanigans and sweat, roar like a Yukon avalanche, teem with rude and lusty characters: Claw-Fingered Kitty, Chewed-Ear Jenkins. Muck-Luck Mag, Blasphemous Bill Mackie. Dangerous Dan McGrew. "Rhyming has my ruin been," Robert Service once wrote, falling unconsciously into the balladeer's inversion. "With less deftness I might have produced real poetry."

Real poetry was not a part...

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