A pal's last need is a thing to heed, so I swore I would not fail; And we started on at the streak of dawn; but God! he looked ghastly pale.
He crouched on the sleigh, and he raved all day of his home in Tennessee; And before nightfall a corpse was all that was left of Sam McGee.
There wasn't a breath in that land of death, and I hurried, horror-driven, With a corpse half hid that I couldn't get rid, because of a promise given; It was lashed to the sleigh, and it seemed to say:
"You may tax your brawn and brains but you promised true that you would cremate those last remains."
Now a promise made is a debt unpaid, and the trail has its own stern code. In the days to come, though my lips were dumb, in my heart how I cursed that load.
And every day that quiet clay seemed to heavy and heavier grow; And on I went, though the dogs were spent and the grub was getting low.