Classic and Contemporary Poetry
SUTER'S CLAIM, by JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY Poet's Biography
First Line: Say! You feller! You
Last Line: And I'm his disease!
Alternate Author Name(s): Johnson Of Boone, Benj. F.
Subject(s): Death; Disease; Dead, The
SAY! you feller! You --
With that spade and the pick! --
What do you 'pose to do
On this side o' the crick?
Goin' to tackle this claim? Well, I reckon
You'll let up ag'in, purty quick!
No bluff, understand, --
But the same has been tried,
And the claim never panned --
Or the fellers has lied, --
For they tell of a dozen that tried it,
And quit it most onsatisfied.
The luck's dead ag'in it! --
The first man I see
That stuck a pick in it
Proved that thing to me, --
For he sort o' took down, and got homesick,
And went back whar he'd orto be!
Then others they worked it
Some -- more or less,
But finally shirked it,
In grades of distress, --
With an eye out -- a jaw or skull busted,
Or some sort o' seriousness.
The last one was plucky --
He wasn't afeerd,
And bragged he was "lucky,"
And said that "he'd heerd
A heap of bluff-talk," and swore awkward
He'd work any claim that he keered!
Don't you strike nary lick
With that pick till I'm through;
This-here feller talked slick
And as peart-like as you!
And he says: "I'll abide here
As long as I please!"
But he didn't. . . . He died here --
And I'm his disease!
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