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Robert William Service Biography

(1874–1958), Songs of a Sourdough, The Spell of the Yukon, Collected Verse, More Collected Verse

verse collected ballads canadian

Canadian poet, born in Preston and raised in Glasgow; he emigrated to Canada in 1895. His collection Songs of a Sourdough (1907) included the ballads ‘The Shooting of Dan McGrew’ and ‘The Cremation of Sam McGee’, both of which drew upon his personal experience of the Yukon gold rushes and which became popular classics. A sequel volume was The Spell of the Yukon (1907). His Collected Verse was first published in 1930 and has been reprinted innumerable times. Later volumes were More Collected Verse (1955) and Later Collected Verse (1960). Service himself was somewhat embarrassed by the extraordinary success of his ballads, and in the autobiographical volumes Ploughman of the Moon (1945) and Harper of Heaven (1948), as well as in the earlier Why Not Grow Young? Or, Living for Longevity (1928), sought to secure his privacy by providing an edited version of his life. Having served as a reporter in the Canadian Army during the First World War he then lived in the South of France. The Poisoned Paradise (1922) describes the Monte Carlo of the time; it was filmed in Hollywood and was a great critical and financial success.

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