Stamp Collector by Robert W. Service

I thought I would share with you this rather derisory rendering of the gloomy fate of the collector from Robert William Service...

Stamp Collector

By Robert William Service
My worldly wealth I hoard in albums three,
My life collection of rare postage stamps;
My room is cold and bare as you can see,
My coat is old and shabby as a tramp's;
Yet more to me than balances in banks,
My albums three are worth a million francs.

I keep them in that box beside my bed,
For who would dream such treasures it could hold;
But every day I take them out and spread
Each page, to gloat like miser o'er his gold:
Dearer to me than could be child or wife,
I would defend them with my very life.

They are my very life, for every night
over my catalogues I pore and pore;
I recognize rare items with delight,
Nothing I read but philatelic lore;
And when some specimen of choice I buy,
In all the world there's none more glad than I.

Behold my gem, my British penny black;
To pay its price I starved myself a year;
And many a night my dinner I would lack,
But when I bought it, oh, what radiant cheer!
Hitler made war that day - I did not care,
So long as my collection he would spare.

Look - my triangular Cape of Good Hope.
To purchase it I had to sell my car.
Now in my pocket for some sous I grope
To pay my omnibus when home is far,
And I am cold and hungry and footsore,
In haste to add some beauty to my store.

This very day, ah, what a joy was mine,
When in a dingy dealer's shop I found
This franc vermillion, eighteen forty-nine . . .
How painfully my heart began to pound!
(It's weak they say), I paid the modest price
And tremblingly I vanished in a trice.

But oh, my dream is that some day of days,
I might discover a Mauritius blue,
poking among the stamp-bins of the quais;
Who knows! They say there are but two;
Yet if a third one I should spy,
I think - God help me! I should faint and die. . . .

Poor Monsieur Pns, he's cold and dead,
One of those stamp-collecting cranks.
His garret held no crust of bread,
But albums worth a million francs.
on them his income he would spend,
By philatelic frenzy driven:
What did it profit in the end. . .
You can't take stamps to Heaven.

2 comments:

  1. I think your 'I love science' poem would be a nice companion piece! Can you put up some of the cuming old curiosity shop stuff you read? It was so lovely, I'd love to read it again.

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  2. I'm still working on digging out the science poem...why has my mother not treasured it all these years like the gold it clearly is?!
    Yes, good idea, I'll stick that up soon.

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