Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, SEVEN HONEST MEN, by MARTIN BENSON

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SEVEN HONEST MEN, by            
First Line: Their faith in one another it was wonderfully great
Last Line: They panned-off half a pennyweight, those seven honest men.
Alternate Author Name(s): Sun, Ben
Subject(s): Deception; Gold Mines & Miners; Punishment

THEIR faith in one another it was wonderfully great,
But their claim it hadn't paid a decent dividend of late;
And so in solemn meeting they decided they would sell
If the "wash" then in the puddles failed to pan out very well.
They knew their claim was envied, and rejoiced that it was so;
That fact it could be fairly worked to advertise the show.
But never thought of "salting" struck the company just then,
For O! they loved the shining truth, those seven honest men.

Then it's set the water moving,
And it's soak the mullock well,
And while the yield's improving
'Tis a foolish thing to sell.
And keep the old horse going
Till the slurry is no more,
And gold is freely showing
All around the puddling-floor.

Now, one man of the party thought that, as they meant to sell,
A very simple plan of his would help to do it well;
And in manner surreptitious then a "rather tidy weight"
He dropped into the puddler when the night was very late.
But O! that inspiration didn't come to him alone,
For each man of the seven struck the notion on his own;
Though none the awful secret brought within the others' ken,
For O! the truth was sacred to those seven honest men.

Then it's keep the water going
Till the "ripples" overflow,
And shining specks are glowing
As the pebbles rolling go.
Watch the boulders and the rough ones,
They may carry gold away;
We only wash the stuff once
Or the claim will never pay.

They had a splendid "cleaning-up" that day upon the flat,
And never thought of selling for a moment after that.
They mended up the windlass, and they "soldiered up" with rare,
And opened out upon the wash, and "drove her" here and there.
And in a fortnight after had a pyramid in sight
Of wash-dirt for the puddler; for they'd grafted day and night.
But O! what language picturesque succeeded silence, when
They panned-off half a pennyweight, those seven honest men.

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