The Spell of the Yukon and Other Verses. Robert W. Service.
The Spell of the Yukon and Other Verses
The Spell of the Yukon and Other Verses
The Spell of the Yukon and Other Verses

The Spell of the Yukon and Other Verses

New York, NY: Barse & Hopkins, 1907. First Edition. Hardcover. With excerpt of poem hand-written & initialed by Robert W. Service. An early &, in its time, wildly popular volume of poems by Robert William Service (1874-1958), the extremely prolific British-Canadian poet known as "The Bard of the Yukon" & often compared to his near-contemporary Rudyard Kipling. These are very straightforward, old-fashioned poems about the places & people of Canada's equivalent of the USA's Wild West, or pre-Statehood Alaska. The titles of the title poem & others such as "The Law of the Yukon," "The Call of the Wild," "The Lone Trail," "The Men That Don't Fit In, "The Rhyme of the Restless Ones" etc. are as matter-of-fact as their contents; & while we would never compare his work with that of the Beat Generation which was just gaining notoriety at the time of his passing, there is a proto-similarity in his celebration of adventure, experience & the open road (albeit by dogsled rather than Hudson Coupe). This volume was first published in Canada as "Songs of a Sourdough," later the same year (1907) it was published in the USA by Barse & Hopkins as here; Dodd, Mead & Company; Edward Stern & Co. & possibly others all during the same year with priority difficult to establish. This small volume with red flexible covers, gilt titles & upper text block edge, is copyrighted 1907 & appears to be a first edition. We have seen references to copies in green cloth covers by the same publisher, perhaps alternate concurrent editions. On the shorter title page, there is a hand-written & initialed poem, or more likely part of a poem: "A friend no mortal tongue can tell/ The glory of that name/ A friend: is one who knows us well/ But loves us all the same./ A friend will raise us if we fall/ will pity and defend./ The greatest gift from life, of all/ is a true and loyal friend./ (initialed) (?)RWS./ (small drawing of a right-pointing arrow)." We could not find this verse in any among Service's more than 800 available poems with titles that suggest the topic of friendship, or in this particular book. The handwriting appears to be Service's when compared with his signature below his frontispiece portrait here, & in other specimens of his writing that we have seen; & of course the initials can all but certainly only stand for Robert W. Service. A unique & most desirable collectible in the vast Service canon, especially with this (perhaps never otherwise published?) initialed manuscript verse. In relatively near-fine condition for such a well-over-century-old, unrestored relic: Mild-to-moderate rubbing & scratching to front, back covers & spine; mild wear with small bumps, slight loss of cloth at edges & corners of same esp. upper & lower spine edges & lower left corner of back cover; moderate browning, rubbing & scratching to edges of text block incl. very slight loss of gilt at top edge of same. Interior fine with very slight browning (not of the odorous pulp variety) of page leaves; occasional tiny spots, non-penetrating gauges & tiny bumps, creases at margins, edges & corners of a few of same. Near Fine. [Item #3418]

Price: $500.00