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Robert Service: The Lure of Little Voices

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The Lure of Little Voices

Robert Service


There's a cry from out the loneliness -- oh, listen, Honey, listen!

Do you hear it, do you fear it, you're a-holding of me so?

You're a-sobbing in your sleep, dear,

and your lashes, how they glisten --

Do you hear the Little Voices all a-begging me to go?

All a-begging me to leave you.

Day and night they're pleading, praying,

On the North-wind, on the West-wind,

from the peak and from the plain;

Night and day they never leave me -- do you know what they are saying?

"He was ours before you got him, and we want him once again."

Yes, they're wanting me, they're haunting me, the awful lonely places;

They're whining and they're whimpering as if each had a soul;

They're calling from the wilderness, the vast and God-like spaces,

The stark and sullen solitudes that sentinel the Pole.

They miss my little camp-fires, ever brightly, bravely gleaming

In the womb of desolation, where was never man before;

As comradeless I sought them, lion-hearted, loving, dreaming,

And they hailed me as a comrade, and they loved me evermore.

And now they're all a-crying, and it's no use me denying;

The spell of them is on me and I'm helpless as a child;

My heart is aching, aching, but I hear them, sleeping, waking;

It's the Lure of Little Voices, it's the mandate of the Wild.

I'm afraid to tell you, Honey, I can take no bitter leaving;

But softly in the sleep-time from your love I'll steal away.

Oh, it's cruel, dearie, cruel, and it's God knows how I'm grieving;

But His loneliness is calling, and He knows I must obey.