Prelude

by Robert William Service

I sing no idle songs of dalliance days,

No dreams Elysian inspire my rhyming;

I have no Celia to enchant my lays,

No pipes of Pan have set my heart to chiming.

I am no wordsmith dripping gems divine

Into the golden chalice of a sonnet;

If love songs witch you, close this book of mine,

Waste no time on it.



Yet bring I to my work an eager joy,

A lusty love of life and all things human;

Still in me leaps the wonder of the boy,

A pride in man, a deathless faith in woman.

Still red blood calls, still rings the valiant fray;

Adventure beacons through the summer gloaming:

Oh long and long and long will be the day

Ere I come homing!



This earth is ours to love: lute, brush and pen,

They are but tongues to tell of life sincerely;

The thaumaturgic Day, the might of men,

O God of Scribes, grant us to grave them clearly!

Grant heart that homes in heart, then all is well.

Honey is honey-sweet, howe'er the hiving.

Each to his work, his wage at evening bell

The strength of striving.