Robert W.Service.

Yesterday I received an email from my friend. It said that he translated Robert Service’s poem “My Madonna” into Russian and asked what I thought about the translation. I looked at the original and the translation and answered that translation was good but required more work to become excellent.

I have to confess that before yesterday I did not know the poem and that I liked it.

For those of you, who don’t know or forgot the poem here it is:

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My Madonna – by Robert W. Service

I haled me a woman from the street,
Shameless, but, oh, so fair!
I bade her sit in the model’s seat
And I painted her sitting there.

I hid all trace of her heart unclean;
I painted a babe at her breast;
I painted her as she might have been
If the Worst had been the Best.

She laughed at my picture and went away.
Then came, with a knowing nod,
A connoisseur, and I heard him say;
“‘Tis Mary, the Mother of God.”

So I painted a halo round her hair,
And I sold her and took my fee,
And she hangs in the church of Saint Hillaire,
Where you and all may see.

**********************************************************************

I also have to confess that I did not remember reading anything else written by Robert W.Service and I did not know anything about him. However, we live in a fairy tale era when we can get necessary information almost immediately.

Surely, I went to Google and found a big article about Robert W.Service on Wikipedia. I highly recommend you to read this article HERE.

I loved reading this well-written informative article about a wonderful creative man who had a very interesting life, met with many famous people, lived in many countries, wrote many poems and novels. 

It was especially interesting for me to read the following:

“He also visited the USSR in the 1930s and later wrote a satirical “Ballad of Lenin’s Tomb“.[20] For this reason his poetry has never been translated into Russian in the USSR and he was never mentioned in Soviet encyclopedias.[21]

Service’s second trip to the Soviet Union “was interrupted by news of the Hitler-Stalin pact. Service fled across PolandLatviaEstonia and the Baltic to Stockholm. He wintered in Nice with his family, then fled France for Canada.” Not long after, the Nazis invaded France, and “arrived at his home in Lancieux … looking specifically for the poet who had mocked Hitler in newspaper verse.”[22]

These two paragraphs show clearly what kind of person Robert W.Service was.

I already started exploring Robert W.Service’s writings. Hope you’ll do the same.

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4 thoughts on “Robert W.Service.

  1. I’ve never heard of Robert Service before, but just taking a look at his Wiki page was impressive (as was the poem). Finds like these are always special, makes me appreciate works of the past (which somehow makes me more optimistic about the future). Nice post!

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