Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE MONEY DIGGERS, by JOHN GARDINER CALKINS BRAINARD



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THE MONEY DIGGERS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Thus saith the book - 'permit no witch to live'
Last Line: Symmes be your trusty guide, and robert kidd your guest.
Subject(s): Treasures


Thus saith The Book-- "Permit no witch to live;"
Hence, Massachusetts hath expelled the race,--
Connecticut, where swap and dicker thrive,
Admits not to their foot a resting-place.
With more of hardihood and less of grace,
Vermont receives the sisters gray and lean,
Allows each witch her airy broomstick race,
O'er mighty rocks and mountains dark with green,
Where tempests wake their voice, and torrents roar between.
And one there was among that wicked crew,
To whom the enemy a pebble gave,
Through which, at long-off distance, she might view
All treasures of the fathomable wave;
And where the Thames' bright billows gently lave,
The grass-grown piles that flank the ruined wharf,
She sent them forth, those two adventurers brave,
Where greasy citizens their beverage quaff,
Jeering at enterprise --aye ready with a laugh.
They came --those straight-haired, honest meaning men,
Nor question asked they, nor reply did make,
Albeit their locks were lifted like as when
Young Hamlet saw his father. And the shake
Of knocking knees and jaws that seemed to break,
Told a wild tale of undertaking bold,
While as the oyster-tongs the chiels did take
Dim grew the sight, and every blood-drop cold,
As knights in scarce romaunt, sung by the bards of old.
For not in daylight were their rites performed;
--When night-capped heads were on their pillow laid,
Sleep-freed from biting care, by thought unharmed,
Snoring ere word was spoke, or prayer was said--
'T was then the mattock and the busy spade,
The pump, the bucket, and the windlass rope
In busy silence plied the mystic trade,
While resolution, beckoned on by hope,
Did sweat and agonize the sought-for chest to ope.
Beneath the wave, the iron chest is hot,
Deep growls are heard and reddening eyes are seen,
Yet of the Black Dog she had told them not,
Nor of the gray wild-geese with eyes of green,
That screamed, and yelled, and hovered close between
The buried gold and the rapacious hand.
Here should she be, though mountains intervene,
To scatter, with her crooked witch-hazel wand,
The wave-born sprites, that keep their treasure from the land.
She cannot, may not come, the rotten wharf
Of moldering planks and rusty spikes is there,
And he who owned a quarter or a half
Is disappointed, and the witch is-- where?
Vermont still harbours her -- go seek her there,
The grandam of Joe Strickland -- find her nest,
Where summer icicles and snowballs are,
Where black swans paddle and where petrils rest--
Symmes be your trusty guide, and Robert Kidd your guest.






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