California Gold Poetry

The Grip of Gold.

Gold, gold, gold, gold!
Bright and yellow, hard and cold,
Molten, graven, hammered and rolled,
Heavy to get and light to hold;
Hoarded, bartered, bought and sold,
Stolen, borrowed, squandered, doled;
Spurned by the young, but hugged by the old
To the very verge of the churchyard mold,
Price of many a crime untold.
Gold, gold, gold, gold!
Good or bad a thousandfold!

— Thomas Hood

The Gettsyburg Times (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) Feb 26, 1909

TO MISS SARAH —-

To Californy I will go,
Where lots of goold is found.
I’ll take my pick axe, spade and hoe
To excavate the ground.

Perhaps for years, I’m doomed to roam,
Till I quite rich have grown
A stranger from my native home,
“Solitary and alone.”

Sometimes of me, perchance, you’ll think,
When I am far away,
A digging for the shining chunk,
In Californi-a.

It grieves me much with you to part,
May be to meet no more
But on to morrow I must start
To seek the yellow ore.

But if I live, I will come back,
My goold with you to share,
And then will take a like time tack —
In wedlock we will steer.

So for a time, I must adjourn
Far o’er the mountains blue,
But with the shiners I’ll return,
My love, to marry you.

Yours till death, JACK —–

Alton Telegraph And Democratic Review (Alton, Illinois) Jan 19, 1849

{Original.}
To my brother, on leaving for California.

To California’s rugged wild,
Where art refined, hath never smiled;
Where the uncultured savage rude,
Delights in scenes of crime and blood;

Thy daring footsteps soon must haste;
Before thee is the trackless waste:
Oh, brother! then, when far away,
Forget not thou, to “watch and pray.”

To watch — lest the fell tempter’s art,
From God, should lure thee to depart;
Fear more his dark and serpent tread,
Than bandit’s steel, or foemen dread.

Thy way lies thro’ a thousand snares,
Through perils, dangers, toils, and cares;
And pestilence, that stalks abroad;
But trust thou in the arm of God.

May health around thy pillow smile,
And hope thine every care beguile;
May’st thou be shielded from the brand
Of savage, and each hostile band.

Farewell, my brother! soon shall seas
Divide us — and each murmuring breeeze
That thro’ the waving woods shall stray,
Will whisper, thou are far away!
Forget not then — forget not then.
Thy sister! — may we meet again!

M.A.W.

Alton Telegraph and Democratic Review (Alton, Illinois) Apr 19, 1850

The Returned Californian’s Song.

AIR — “Oh Susannah.”

I’ve been to Californy,
With my wash-bowl on my knee;
I’ve seen the tallest elephant
That ever mortal see —
He measures from one tip to tip,
About a million feet,
And from the other tip to top
The critter can’t be beat.

CHORUS. — Oh, California!
You’re not the land for me;
I’ve been and left the wash-bowl
I had upon my knee.

He ate the Liza’s cargo,
And then he wanted more,
He ate a man for dinner,
One day he went a shore;
He tried to eat another,
But the feller’s coat tails flew,
And he never stopp’d to tell the folk
A quarter what he knew.

Oh, California! & c.

The folks in California,
They drink a dreadful sight;
You see a fellow very loose,
And then you see one tight;
A loose one shoot’s a tight one
And then they write the folks,
That a grizzly bear devoured him!
And its a very bear-faced Hoax.

Oh, California! & c.

There’s plenty of people raises Ned,
And lots of music goin’;
There’s forty thousand fiddle men
A tootin’ and a blowin’.
The loafers drink and gamble,
And they don’t do nothin, more,
And they’re somehow disappointed,
‘Cause all their hopes is ORE.

Oh, California! & c.

I seen a right smart chance of hills
As full as they could hold,
Of pecks and pecks of silver,
And QUARTZ and QUARTZ of gold,
I filled my wash bowl with ’em,
But a Sidney chap from prison,
He took the bowl and shot at me,
Because the claim was his’n.

Oh, California! & c.

I’ve scap’d the mountains clear my boys,
And drained them rivers dry,
My pockets full enough of rocks,
The gold dust’s “in my eye.”
It ain’t so hard to raise the dust,
If a feller’ll only blow,
(‘Tis WINDY business, blowin’ is,
As whales and black-fish know.)

Oh, California! & c.

I can’t begin to count my gold,
But a feller did that knows;
It took a heap of figgers,
And I think they all wat O’s;
Them O’s is pretty figgers,
But then it seems to foller,
That when a figger’s circular,
It’s so etarnal hollar!

Oh, California! & c.

I jumped off from the ‘Liza ship,
And traveled up the river,
I caught the gue and the shakes,
(The shakes means when you shiver,)
I shook my teeth from out my head,
But then I didn’t need ’em,
I didn’t have them filled with gold,
And so I didn’t feed ’em.

Oh, California! & c.

And now I’m gwine to dig again,
And do it with a will,
But it’s gwine to be a dry diggin,
In another kind of hill!
I’ll dig the lumps and wsh ’em well,
And in the course of nater,
I know, some day, I’m bound to find
Some gold in every tater.

Oh, California! & c.

We’ll rest content with quiet lot,
In spite of lots in ‘Frisky —
And while we raise the taterses,
The fools may drink the whiskey.
Then here’s to California,
And luck to all who try!
And since we’re safe at home again,
Why, brothers, don’t you cry.

Oh, California —
You’re not the land for me,
I’ve been, and left the wash-bowl
I had upon my knee.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Jun 24, 1851

More Gold Rush Poetry:

Miner Rhymes From the Gold Country

Poetry of Gold

Ho! For California

Going Ahead on the Yankee Trail

A Miner Rhyme

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One Response to “California Gold Poetry”

  1. Makita Says:

    Akkuschrauber…

    California Gold Poetry « YesterYear Once More…

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