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Ballads of a Cheechako

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CONTENTS OF FIRST LINES: To the Man of the High NorthMy rhymes are rough, and often in my rhymingMen of the High NorthMen of the High North, the wild sky is blazing;The Ballad of the Northern LightsOne of the Down and Out—that's me. Stare at me well, ay, stare!The Ballad of the Black Fox SkinThere was Claw-fingered Kitty and Windy Ike living the life of shame,The Ballad of Pious PeteI tried to refine that neighbor of mine, honest to God, I did.The Ballad of Blasphemous BillI took a contract to bury the body of blasphemous Bill MacKie,The Ballad of One-Eyed MikeThis 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 HenryNow wouldn't you expect to find a man an awful crankThe Man from EldoradoHe's the man from Eldorado, and he's just arrived in town,My FriendsThe man above was a murderer, the man below was a thief;The ProspectorI strolled up old Bonanza, where I staked in ninety-eight,The Black SheepHark to the ewe that bore him:The Telegraph OperatorI will not wash my face;The Wood-CutterThe sky is like an envelope,The Song of the Mouth-OrganI'm a homely little bit of tin and bone;The Trail of Ninety-EightGold! We leapt from our benches. Gold! We sprang from our stools.The Ballad of Gum-Boot BenHe was an old prospector with a vision bleared and dim.Clancy of the Mounted PoliceIn the little Crimson Manual it's written plain and clearLost"Black is the sky, but the land is white—L'EnvoiWe talked of yesteryears, of trails and treasure,

To the Man of the High North My rhymes are rough, and often in my rhymingI've drifted, silver-sailed, on seas of dream,Hearing afar the bells of Elfland chiming,Seeing the groves of Arcadie agleam.I was the thrall of Beauty that rejoicesFrom peak snow-diademed to regal star;Yet to mine aerie ever pierced the voices,The pregnant voices of the Things That Are.The Here, the Now, the vast Forlorn around us;The gold-delirium, the ferine strife;The lusts that lure us on, the hates that hound us;Our red rags in the patch-work quilt of Life.The nameless men who nameless rivers travel,And in strange valleys greet strange deaths alone;The grim, intrepid ones who would unravelThe mysteries that shroud the Polar Zone.These will I sing, and if one of you lingerOver my pages in the Long, Long Night,And on some lone line lay a calloused finger,Saying: "It's human-true—it hits me right";Then will I count this loving toil well spent;Then will I dream awhile—content, content.

Men of the High North Men of the High North, the wild sky is blazing;Islands of opal float on silver seas;Swift splendors kindle, barbaric, amazing;Pale ports of amber, golden argosies.Ringed all around us the proud peaks are glowing;Fierce chiefs in council, their wigwam the sky;Far, far below us the big Yukon flowing,Like threaded quicksilver, gleams to the eye....