Hank Snow

Spell of the Yukon

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I wanted the gold and I sought it
I scrabbled and mucked like a slave
Was it famine or scurvy I fought it
I hurled my youth into a grave.

I wanted the gold and I got it
Came out with a fortune last fall
Yet somehow life's not what I thought it
And somehow the gold isn't all.

No, there's the land have you seen it
It's the cussedest land that I know
From the big dizzy mountains that screen it
To the deep depth-like valleys below.

Some say God was tired when he made it
Some say it's a fine land to shun
Maybe but there's some that would trade it
For no land owner and I'm one.

You come to get rich that's a good reason
You feel like an exile at first
You hate it like hell for a season
And then you're worse than the worst.

It grips you like some kinds of sinning
It twists you from foe to a friend
It seems it's been since the beginning
It seems it will be to the end.

I've stood in some mighty mouthed-hollow
That's plumb full of hush to the brim
I've watched the big husky sun wallow
In crimson and gold and grow dim.

Till the moon set the pearly peaks gleaming
And the stars tumbled out neck and crop
And I thought that I surely was dreaming
With the peace of the world piled on top.

The summer no sweeter was ever
The sunshiny woods all a thrill
The grayling a leap in the river
The bighorn asleep on a hill.

The strong life that never knows harness
The wilds where the caribou call
The freshness the freedom the farness
Oh God, how I'm stuck on it all.

The winter the brightness that blinds you
The white land locked tight as a drum
The cold fear that follows and finds you
The silence that bludgeons you dumb.

The snows that are older than history
The woods where the weird shadows slant
The stillness the moonlight the myst'ry
I'd bade them goodbye but I can't.

There's a land where the mountains are nameless
And the rivers all run God knows where
There are lives that are erring and aimless
And deaths that just hang by a hair.

There are hardships that nobody reckons
There are valleys unpeopled and still
There's a land, oh how it beckons and beckons
And I want to go back and I will.

They're making my money diminish
I'm sick of the taste of champagne
Thank God when I'm skinned to a finish
I'll pike to the Yukon again.

I'll fight and you bet it's no sham fight
It's hell but I've been there before
And it's better than this by a damn sight
So me for the Yukon once more.

There's gold and its haunting and haunting
It's luring me on as of old
Yet it isn't the gold that I'm wanting
So much as just finding the gold.

It's the great big broadland way up yonder
It's the forest where silence has lease
It's the beauty that thrills me with wonder
It's the stillness that fills me with peace...

Writer/s: Robert W. Service

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