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Russell Crowe Audios and Electronic Books Sale
Monthly Column
October 2002

Last month's column was a question about audio cassettes narrated by Crowe.  Thanks to everyone who sent the link to Murphsplace.com.  In the Breaking News page for September 22, 2002, you are directed to the Russell Crowe Heaven website for an audio of Crowe reciting combined stanzas from Robert Service's poems, The Spell Of The Yukon and The Mountain And The Lake.  Here is the link for the audio:  Russell Crowe Heaven has an audio.  You may need a newer computer for this.  I found this out when I had to use my husband's newer computer as opposed to my computer which works like petrified wood, at times.

Also, the stanzas from both poems have been arranged here in the same sequence that Crowe reads.

The Spell of the Yukon

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, it beckons and beckons,
    And I want to go back -- and I will.

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, deathlike 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 as would trade it
    For no land on earth -- and I'm one.

The summer -- no sweeter was ever;
    The sunshiny woods all athrill;
The grayling aleap in the river,
    The bighorn asleep on the hill.
The strong life that never knows harness;
    The wilds where the caribou call;
The freshness, the freedom, the farness --
    O God! how I'm stuck on it all.

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've thought that I surely was dreaming,
    With the peace o' the world piled on top.

You come to get rich (damned good reason);
    You feel like an exile at first;
You hate it like hell for a season,
    And then you are 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.

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 damnsite --
    So me for the Yukon once more.

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 mystery,
    I've bade 'em good-by -- but I can't.

[Next Stanza From The Mountain and the Lake]

I know a mountain thrilling to the stars, 
 Peerless and pure, and pinnacled with snow; 
 Glimpsing the golden dawn o'er coral bars,  
Flaunting the vanisht sunset's garnet glow;  
Proudly patrician, passionless, serene;  
Soaring in silvered steeps where cloud-surfs break;  Virgin and vestal -- Oh, a very Queen!
  And at her feet there dreams a quiet lake.
[Last Stanza From The Spell of The Yukon]
There's gold, and it's 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, broad land 'way up yonder,   
   It's the forests where silence has lease;
  It's the beauty that thrills me with wonder,     
 It's the stillness that fills me with peace.
--Robert Service
Why did Crowe choose to record these poems?  We may never fully know the answer, but here is a glimpse.  The following lines reflect Crowe's fortune as a successful actor even before Gladiator, and how Crowe also cherishes the time on his farm/land.

"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?)"

The following is how life is a journey, as well as in Crowe's case, his love for the art of acting and how the gold-filled land that is Hollywood is really about the quality of art Hollywood can give and not the gold itself (in the idyllic world of poetry--where it's possible--where it can be imagined):

Yet it isn't the gold that I'm wanting
    So much as just finding the gold.

For some reason, the next lines make me think of determination.  The "Yukon" could be "Hollywood."  Because Crowe recorded this poem in 1996 before getting "discovered by all," it seems to have more meaning of his persistence.

You come to get rich (damned good reason);
    You feel like an exile at first;
You hate it like hell for a season,
    And then you are 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.

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 damnsite --
    So me for the Yukon once more.

The poem spends a lot of time "about" this "land," from mountains, to valleys, to rivers and lakes, the different seasons on them, and the animals and men that live on them, and in the end, the peace the land gives as illustrated by the last two stanzas.  So no matter how crazy the Yukon/Hollywood can become, "It's the great, big, broad land 'way up yonder,
    It's the forests where silence has lease;
It's the beauty that thrills me with wonder,
    It's the stillness that fills me with peace."

So for dialogue's sake, this poem (in addition to its many meanings), makes me think of Russell's journey to make it in Hollywood.  I welcome all who disagree!

Here is the link to the "Breaking News" page at Murphsplace.com: [http://www.murphsplace.com/crowe/news.html].

Thanks to everyone who sent the link to murphsplace.com where you can "listen" to Russell Crowehttp://www.murphsplace.com/crowe/songs.html#moment

Also, sorry, no word of Russell's U.S. shoe size.  Some part of Crowe has to remain a mystery, after all.  Here is a link to show his shoes.  Guess is either size 11 or 11 1/2:  http://www.murphsplace.com/crowe/closer.html.

Here is an article on Murphsplace.com:  A Great Russell Website.

 

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