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This poem is often wrongly thought to be by Robert W Service. It is published here to the memory of Hugh Antoine D'Arcy, its rightful father.
An Evening with the Bard of the Yukon, July 18 th 2003 at 20.30pm in the Town-Hall of Lancieux, Brittany.
All Entries 1997 - 2002
All Entries 2002
Odds and Ends, Other Items Of Interest About Robert


Published by Susan on 07/26/2003 (4282 reads)
While `Stephen Poore' is a fictional character, he is real enough in some ways...

Notes . by Alan R. Light, Monroe, North Carolina, June 1997.

While `Stephen Poore' is a fictional character, he is real enough in some ways. Robert Service was himself in the Ambulance Corps, and his descriptions of `Bohemia' of this day, and the emergence of war, bear striking similarities to the case of Alan Seeger -- and, no doubt, a great many other `war poets' of the "Great War". It has been said that every section of the trench had its own poet, and many of them, such as Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon, and Robert Graves, became famous for their poetry of the war. This book, in its way, presents a striking picture of the effect of the war on Europe -- though it stops short of showing just how great the effect was.

I hope you enjoyed Service's references to himself in the text, as "Sourdough Service" -- but they should not be taken too seriously. The names of two great Russian composers, Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky, were originally spelled Tschaikowsky and Stravinski in "The Philistine and the Bohemian". These composers were contemporaries of the author, and due to the difficulty of transliterating from the Russian (Cyrillic) alphabet to the Roman Alphabet, hampered by different uses of Roman letters in various European languages, it is not until fairly recently that the current spellings have taken hold -- and their grip is not yet firm. A couple of other names were given incorrectly in the same poem: Mallarme/ was spelled with one L, and E. Burne-Jones (a pre-Raphaelite painter and associate of Rossetti) was given as F. B. Jones. These names are corrected in this text, as is Synge, given as Singe in the original ("L'Escargot D'Or").

The Introduction to Alan Seeger's Poems, written by William Archer, is included in the Project Gutenberg edition of Seeger's Poems, if you feel inclined to compare and contrast the cases. If you enjoy Service's style of poetry, I would like to recommend to you the works of A. B. `Banjo' Paterson, an Australian poet, author of `The Man from Snowy River' and `Waltzing Matilda'. His style and his sense of humour are similar. Several of his works are available from Project Gutenberg.

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