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Robert Service ~ The Three Voices : Articles & Resources

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The waves have a story to tell me,
As I lie on the lonely beach;
Chanting aloft in the pine-tops,
The wind has a lesson to teach;
But the stars sing an anthem of glory
I cannot put into speech.

The waves tell of ocean spaces,
Of hearts that are wild and brave,
Of populous city places,
Of desolate shores they lave (wash):
Of men who sally (set out briskly) in quest of gold
To sink in an ocean grave.

The wind is a mighty roamer;
He bids me keep me free,
Clean from the taint of the gold-lust,
Hardy and pure as he;
Cling with my love to nature
As a child to the mother-knee.

But the stars throng out in their glory,
And they sing of the God in man;
They sing of the mighty Master,
Of the loom His fingers span;
Where a star or a soul is a part of the whole,
And weft (woven) in the wondrous plan.

Here by the camp-fire’s flicker,
Deep in my blanket curled,
I long for the peace of the pine-gloom
When the scroll of the Lord is unfurled,
And the wind and the wave are silent,
And world is singing to world.

From Songs of a Sourdough, 1907, Public Domain

1. Compare the poem ‘The Three Voices’ to the Robert Service ballad ‘The Men That Don’t Fit In’. Discuss the message and warning.

2. What are the three voices? Circle or highlight the three voices to see how the poem is organized. 

P 1: introduction - waves, wind, stars
P 2: waves
p 3: wind
p 4: stars
p 5: conclusion 

For more of Robert Service, go to our Resources tab and put Robert Service in the search field.