Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, DEVIL'S GOLD (A HAMPTON LEGEND), by ABBIE FARWELL BROWN



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DEVIL'S GOLD (A HAMPTON LEGEND), by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The general rolled in a coach-and-four
Last Line: Are marked with the hate of gold.
Subject(s): Devil; Humility; Satan; Mephistopheles; Lucifer; Beelzebub


THE General rolled in a coach-and-four,
His head held high in pride;
And Mary, who should have married me,
Cowered in silk at his side.

The mud of the General's chariot-wheels
Grimed me, plodding by;
But I saw a doom on his pallid face,
And met the fear in her eye.

For well she knew -- as I know now,
As neighbors guessed full well --
He had sold his soul for a bootful of gold
To the Devil himself from Hell.
* * * * * * * *
He called from the hearth of his paneled hall
To the Fiend on the chimney-crown;
His jack-boot stood in the chimney-place,
And the gold came pouring down.

The gold poured down in a tinkling flood,
And covered the great hall floor;
But the General roared to the Devil above --
"Nay! more! and more! and more!"

For the great jack-boot was never filled
Till the gold lay three-foot thick;
The bargainer had cut the toe,
And fooled the Fiend by the trick.


But the lady shivered in the dark
At the roar of the General's mirth;
While brimstone flashes seared the roof,
And the Fiend's wrath shook the earth.
* * * * * * * *
I read in the face of the smitten man
As he passed me on that day,
And in the haunted lady's eye --
That his hour was near to pay.

And when we bore the General's bier
To his proud tomb up the road,
Ten of the sturdiest lads in town
Staggered beneath the load.

Ten of the sturdiest lads in town
Turned pale as lime-bleached bones
When their burden dropped and the cover loosed;
The coffin was filled with stones!

My Mary fled from the haunted house
To toil as a poor man's wife;
For not one pound of her widow's wealth
Would I suffer to curse our life.

The only dower she brought away
Was the terrible tale she told;
And our children bred in a humble home
Are marked with the hate of gold.





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